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AMERICA FIRST 



AMMamsT 

one hundred stories 

frqml our 

own history 



LAWTON D EVANS 




ILLUSTRATED BY 

MLLO WINTER 



MILTON BRADLEV COMlPANY 

SPRINGFIELD " A\ASSACHUSETTS 

X920 






VI 







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COPYRIGHT, IQ20, BY 
MILTON BRADLEY COMPANY, SPRINGFIELD, MASS. 



AU rights reserved 



Bradlej? Qialit}? Books 

>6r Children 



StMbbiu©CU597410 



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When children advance beyond the nursery age, 
no story is so wonderful as a true story. Fiction 
to them is never as appealing as fact. I have 
often been faced with the inquiry: whether or not 
a story is a true one. The look of gratification, 
when told that "it actually happened," was most 
satisfying to me as a story-teller. 

The nearer a story is to the life and traditions 
of the child, the more eagerly it is attended. True 
stories about our own people, about our neighbors 
and friends, and about our own country at large, 
are more interesting than true stories of remote 
places and people. We naturally are interested in 
our own affairs, and the nearer they are to us the 
greater the interest we feel. 

That history is just a long, thrilling story of the 
trials and triumphs of pioneers and patriots is well 
known to those who have had to do with the 
teaching of history to youthful minds. That the 
dry recital of political and governmental history 



Ul 



iv INTRODUCTION 



does not interest children is also well known. His- 
tory should be made vital, vibrant, and personal 
if we expect children to be stirred by its study. 

To gratify the love of children for the dramatic 
and picturesque, to satisfy them with stories that 
are true, and to make them familiar with the 
great characters in the history of their own coun- 
try, is the purpose of this volume. 

It is hoped that through appeal to youthful love 
of adventure, this collection of stories, covering 
the entire range of American history, will stimu- 
late the ambition and strengthen the patriotism of 
those young citizens whose education has been the 
constant concern of the author for many years. 

Lawton B. Evans 

Augusta, Ga. 




FAQE 

1. Leif, the Lucky 1 

2. How THE Spaniards Conquered Mexico 3 

3. The Conquest of Peru 10 

4. The Fountain of Youth 15 

5. De Soto Discovers the Mississippi 18 

6. Sir WaltiSr Raleigh 23 

7. The Lost Colony of Roanoke 27 

8. Some Adventures of John Smith 32 

9. More Adventures of John Smith 35 

10. Persecutions of the Pilgrims and Puritans 40 

11. The Adventures of Miles Standish 45 

12. Building a Canoe 51 

13. The Flight of Roger Williams 54 

14. Old Silver Leg 58 

15. William Penn and the Quakers 63 

16. The Charter Oak 67 

17. Bloody Marsh 72 

18. The Saving of Hadley 76 

19. Sir William Phips and the Treasure Ship 81 

20. Hannah Dustin 87 

21. Israel Putnam Captures the Wolf 91 

22. A Young Surveyor 94 

23. The Adventures of Young Washington 99 

24. How THE Indians Treated IMajor Putnam 104 

25. How Detroit was Saved 109 

26. The Story of Acadia 112 

27. Blackbeard, the Pirate 118 

28. The Adventures of Daniel Boone 121 

29. Sunday in the Colonies 125 

30. The Salem Witches 129 

V 



vi CONTENTS 



PAGE 

31. Traveling by Stage-coach 134 

32. King George and the Colonies 139 

33. Patrick Henry and the Parson's Cause 144 

34. Paul Revere's Ride 149 

35. The Green Mountain Boys 154 

36. The Father of His Country 157 

37. Nathan Hale 161 

38. The Bravery of Elizabeth Zane 165 

39. Capturing the Hessians 169 

40. How Lafayette Came to America 172 

41. The Patriotism of Lydia Darrah 177 

42. Captaust Molly Pitcher 181 

43. Marion, the Swamp Fox 184 

44. Outwitting a Tory 188 

45. Supporting the Colors 192 

46. Nancy HL^rt, the War Woman op Georgia 196 

47. Mad Anthony Captures Stony Point 200 

48. The Execution of Major Andre 206 

49. How General Schuyler was Saved 208 

50. An Indian Trick that Failed 212 

51. How THE Northwest was Won 216 

52. Benjamin Franklin 221 

53. Nolichucky Jack 226 

54. Eli Whitney Invents the Cotton-gin 232 

55. Thomas Jefferson 236 

56. The Burning of the Philadelphia 240 

57. The Expedition of Lewis and Clark 244 

58. Colter's Race for Life 251 

59. Pike Explores the Arkansas Valley 255 

60. How THE Pumpkins Saved the Family 260 

61. Old Ironsides ^^5 

62. Tecumseh 270 

63. The Star-Spangled Banner 274 

64. Traveling by the Canal 278 

65. Lafayette's Return to America 282 

66. Osceola, the Seminole Chief 286 

67. An Early Journey by Railroad 291 

68. Old Hickory 294 

69. Daniel Webster 299 



CONTENTS vii 



FAGB 

70. Henry Clay 303 

71. Christmas on the Plantation 308 

72. John C Calhoun 313 

73. The Heroes of the Alamo 317 

74. Sam Houston Wins Freedom for Texas 321 

75. The Invention of the Electric Telegraph .... 325 

76. The Discovery of Gold in California 330 

77. Crossing the Continent 335 

78. The Pony Express 339 

79. The Boy who Saved a Village 344 

80. The Rescue of Jerry 349 

81. Abraham Lincoln 354 

82. Robert E. Lee 359 

83. Stonewall Jackson 365 

84. Stealing a Locomotive 369 

85. Sam Davis 374 

86. An Escape from Prison 379 

87. Running the Blockade 383 

88. Through the Heart of the South 388 

89. The Surrender of General Lee 391 

90. Laying the Atlantic Cable 396 

91. The Story of the Telephone 401 

92. Thomas A. Edison, the Great Inventor 405 

93. Clara Barton and the Red Cross 409 

94. Hobson and the Merrimac 414 

95. Dewey at Manila Bay 417 

96. Conquering the Yellow Fever 423 

97. The Sinking of the Lusitania 428 

98. The Last Race of Private Trepton 433 

99. Frank Luke, Jr., Aviator 437 

100. The Exploits of Sergeant York 442 




LEIF, THE LUCKY 

Leif was a bold Norseman, and was called 
"Lucky" because he came safely through so many 
dangers. He was the bravest seaman of his race, 
and the sailors believed that whatever boat carried 
him would come safely into port, no matter how 
fierce the storm. 

When voyagers from the far seas brought word 
to Iceland that fair lands covered with forests lay 
to the west, for they had seen them, Leif the 
Lucky called for thirty -five strong and true men. 
"Let us sail to this country, and get wood for our 
ships, and perhaps gold and silver to sell to the 
kings of Europe," he said. The men came for- 
ward and the ship set sail in the summer. 

They went by way of Greenland, where they 
stopped for more news of the strange lands, and 
then sailed southwest for many days. The first 
place they saw was a land of ice and mountains. 
This was probably Newfoundland. Then they 
reached a level country covered with trees. This 



AIVIERICA FIRST 



was probably Nova Scotia. Still sailing onward, 
the little ships with their brave crews came to a 
beautiful country abounding in trees, grass, and 
flowers. Here they landed, and carried all their 
baggage ashore with them. The place was so beau- 
tiful, they resolved to spend the winter there, and 
at once set about building houses. This was prob- 
ably somewhere in Rhode Island. 

When the Norsemen had built their houses, Leif 
said to his men, "Let us explore the land; some 
of us will stay to guard the houses, and the rest 
will find out what there is to see." So they set 
forth into the interior. 

Soon they came upon an abundance of grape- 
vines hanging from trees and covered with lus- 
cious fruit. Leif was delighted, and at once named 
the country Vinland, or the Land of Vines. So 
they gathered grapes, and cut wood for their 
ships, and built more houses, and settled down to 
spend the winter in this delightful spot. The cold 
came on, but the Norsemen did not mind it, for 
they had plenty of food and great fires; besides 
which, they were accustomed to cold weather. 

In the spring they loaded their ships with tim- 
ber, and sailed for home. Here they narrated their 
marvelous story of the new land. Leif offered his 
ship to his brother, Thorwald, and told him he 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 



might go and spend a winter in Vinland. So 
Thorwald fitted himself out and started for the 
new country, but he was not as lucky as his 
brother. He found the homes that had been built 
by those who had been before him; but the In- 
dians attacked his party one night, and killed 
Thorwald with a poisoned arrow. He was buried 
on the shore, and his men set sail for home as 
soon as the weather allowed them to leave. 

About eight hundred years after this, a skeleton 
clothed in armor was found buried in the earth at 
the head of Narragansett Bay. No one knew who 
it was; but we have every reason to believe that 
it was the remains of the brave old Norse warrior, 
Thorwald, or, maybe, of one of his followers. At 
any rate, the Skeleton in Armor has been the sub- 
ject of much romance and poetry, and the tradi- 
tions of the Norsemen have been handed down 
to us as sagas in the writing of the seafaring 
Icelanders. 



HOW THE SPANIARDS CONQUERED 

MEXICO 

The one thing the early Spaniards wanted above 
all else was gold. For it they were willing to 
abandon their homes and families in the Old 



AMERICA FIRST 



World, undergo all kinds of hardships and suffer- , 
ing, treat the Indians with great cruelty, and often 
imperil their own lives. Thus we see what men 
will do when possessed of a greed for wealth! ^ 

In Cuba there lived a Spanish gentleman named i 
Hernando Cortez. He was the son of wealthy \ 
parents, and he had studied law. But when nine- ' 
teen years of age, he had run away from home to \ 
find adventures in America. He possessed wonder- 
ful courage and great command over men; but by 
nature he was very cruel. He loved gold, as all I 
the others did in those days, but he loved power ; 
and adventure as much as he did wealth. 

Cortez heard stories about the wonderful wealth 
of the King of Mexico. It was said that gold was 
so common among them that the very people ate 
and drank^ from golden vessels. The King was 
said to live in a palace so covered with gold that 
it shone like the sun, while he and all his attend- 
ants were believed to wear gold embroidered 
clothes every day. These fabulous stories were 
told by the natives, and the Spaniards were wild 
with excitement. 

Cortez was placed at the head of an expedition 
designed to conquer Mexico, and with him were 
the bravest of the Spanish captains and the wildest 
adventurers in the New World. Nothing suited 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 



Cortez better than this expedition, and with hope 
he and his men set forth. 

The ruler of Mexico was the proud Montezuma. 
He was far beyond the ordinary Indian in his 
ways and manners. He Hved in a palace, and 
fared sumptuously upon the dainties of his land. 
Was it not said of him that he ate fresh fish, 
brought every day from the coast by runners who 
came in relays over two hundred miles? Around 
him was every kind of comfort and luxury, and 
Mexico, the capital city, showed many evidences of 
a high civilization. 

When Cortez landed at Vera Cruz, Indian run- 
ners carried swift word of the stranger to Monte- 
zuma, as he sat on his throne in Mexico City. 
The King turned pale as he heard of the white 
men, riding strange animals, killing their enemies 
with the aid of weapons that gave out smoke and 
made noises like many thunders. He cried in dis- 
may, "They are the children of the sun, who, ac- 
cording to the traditions of my country, have come 
to take away my throne. Alas! woe is me, and 
woe is Mexico!" And the brave Indian monarch 
shed tears of distress. 

The runners were sent back to Cortez, bearing 
presents of gold, jewels, and rich cloth, and beg- 
ging* him to begone with liis men and leave the 



6 AMERICA FIRST 



country in peace. When Cortez saw the gifts, his 
eyes blazed with greed, and he said, "Go tell your 
Montezuma we will visit him in his palace, even 
if we have to force our way. Tell him also that 
we have a disease of the heart; it will take much 
gold to cure us!" 

The King heard this message with dismay, for 
he did not understand why men should want gold. 
They could not eat or wear it, and he feared their 
coming to his beautiful capital. 

Cortez burned his ships, so that his men could 
not think of retreat, and then set out on his march 
to Mexico City. The terrified natives fled before 
him at the sight of his horses, and at the sound 
of his cannon and guns. The roads over the 
mountains were smooth, with here and there a stone 
house built nearby for the convenience of traders. 

At last Cortez and his adventurers came to a 
point where they could look down over the city 
of Mexico. Great white stone buildings, were seen 
on an island in the middle of a lake, connected 
with the mainland by means of bridges. The 
temples and palaces were reflected in the clear 
water, and the whole scene was peaceful and 
beautiful. "The Land of Gold! The City of 
Plenty!" exclaimed Cortez, and he rested awhile 
before preparing for his triumphal entry. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 



Montezuma sat in his palace with his attend- 
ants around him. *'The strangers are in the 
mountains," announced his chief warrior. "Shall 
I drive them away, or let them enter?" Monte- 
zuma thought awhile, and replied, "It will be of 
no avail to try and drive them away. Let them 
enter the city." 

Cortez, on a fine horse and covered with all the 
trappings of war, attended by his captains and 
men, rode into the city. Montezuma was car- 
ried to meet him in a chair beneath a canopy of 
feathers. His mantle was decorated with gold and 
precious stones, and his bearers brought with them 
great quantities of food and rich gifts for the 
strangers. Alas for poor Montezuma! If he 
thought that was the way to get rid of the cruel 
and greedy Spaniard, he was much mistaken! 

Cortez was given the freedom of the city. He 
went everywhere, observing the means of defense 
and the provisions of warfare. He visited the 
temples and saw the priests offering up human 
lives to the heathen gods. He resolved to force 
these people to adopt the Christian religion, and 
to abandon their heathen rites. He was very ar- 
rogant, and made the Mexicans give him every- 
thing he demanded. 

So matters went on for several weeks, until the 



AMERICA FIRST 



Mexicans showed plainly that they wanted the 
Spaniards to leave. But the Spaniards wanted 
more and more gold, and Cortez became anxious, 
for the natives were growing tired and unfriendly. 
He felt that he was walking over a volcano that 
might blow up at any minute. A Mexican slew 
one of his soldiers. This proved to Montezuma's 
subjects that the white man could be killed. Cor- 
tez demanded that the murderer be turned over 
to him for punishment, and, when this was done, 
the Spaniards burned him alive in the public 
square. The Mexicans became more sullen and 
dangerous. 

Cortez had only two hundred men with him, 
and around him were thousands of Mexicans. He 
and his men, already loaded with plunder and in 
fear of their lives, resolved to escape with what 
they had. It would mean for them certain de- 
struction if the Mexicans once began hostilities. 
Montezuma, whom Cortez had quite terrified, ad- 
vised him to go, so as to escape the wrath of the 
Mexican people. Just about this time, Alvarado, 
one of the Spanish captains, witnessing the sacri- 
fice of human lives at a Mexican religious festival, 
grew so indignant that he ordered his men to fire 
their cannon into the group, thereby killing some 
of the priests. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 9 

This brought matters to a crisis. The Spaniards 
must now indeed leave, and leave quickly. So 
they planned to go by night. But as they de- 
parted over the bridge that connected the city 
with the mainland, the Mexicans discovered them, 
and began a merciless attack upon them. They 
swarmed forth by the thousands, cutting away 
portions of the bridge, hurling stones and arrows, 
and rushing upon the Spaniards with their spears. 
Cortez lost many men before he could withdraw. 
The greedy Spanish soldiers would not follow his 
advice to drop their packs of gold as they fled. 
They clung to their plunder to the very last, and, 
in consequence, many were killed who might have 
escaped. In Spanish histories this is known as 
"the sorrowful night." 

It took a whole year for Cortez to get enough 
men from Cuba and Spain to march again upon 
Mexico. In the meantime Montezuma had been 
slain by his own people, and Guatemazin reigned 
in his stead. This time the siege lasted three 
months, and thousands of the Mexicans were slain 
before the proud city gave way, and the conquest 
of Mexico was complete. Cortez had at last 
broken the heart of the ancient race, and from 
that time on Mexico was in possession of the 
Spanish conquerors. 



10 AMERICA FIRST 



THE CONQUEST OF PERU 

Francisco Pizarro was a Spaniard of low birth, 
and was so ignorant that never in all his life did 
he learn to read and write. His parents were very 
poor, and his wicked mother deserted him when 
he was a child. He would have died if he had 
not been nursed by an old sow. 

When Pizarro became old enough to work, he 
took up the occupation of a swineherd, feeding 
and tending pigs. He became very rough and 
lawless, but like all other Spaniards of the day, 
was eager for conquest in America. So he ran 
away from his master, and shipped in a vessel 
bound for the West Indies. Here he met Vasco 
Nunez de Balboa, and was one of the party that 
went with this explorer when he beheld the waters 
of the Pacific Ocean. He heard a great deal about 
a land to the south, abounding in gold and silver. 

Of course Pizarro wanted to conquer this land, 
just as Cortez had conquered Mexico. With a 
small party of men and some horses, he started 
out in one ship to explore the west coast of South 
America, where the Peruvians lived. As he went 
down the coast he saw signs of villages here and 
there, and some large towns with houses and 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 11 

streets. The people he noticed wore clothing, 
and appeared to have plenty of gold ornaments. 

At one place a party of fifty of his men landed 
with their horses and began a march into the in- 
terior. The Peruvians came against them by the 
thousands, but the Spaniards fired off their guns 
and dismounted their horses. The strange noise 
of armor, and the appearance of an animal that 
could separate itself into two parts, — for the 
natives thought the horse and rider were one, so 
terrified the savages that they fled in dismay. 

Seeing the vast numbers of people in this new 
land, and also its limitless riches of gold and sil- 
ver, Pizarro decided to return to Spain for larger 
forces and more supplies, and then to return for 
the complete conquest of Peru. So he made his 
way back to Spain and reported to his King what 
he had seen. The Spanish monarch told Pizarro 
that he might be governor of all the land he sub- 
dued, and in addition he might keep half the gold 
he found. But the King did not give him any 
money with which to buy ships and supplies. 

Pizarro was not daunted, however, by this. 
After a few months he found enough men and 
borrowed enough money to start afresh. He 
landed again on the Peruvian coast, and remained 
a year in one place, awaiting reinforcements and 



12 AMERICA FIRST 



supplies. He then started on his march inland, 
to meet Atahualpa, who was the King of the 
country. Atahualpa sent friendly messages, beau- 
tiful presents of gold, silver, and precious stones, 
together with plentiful provisions for the Spaniards. 

Pizarro marched over the narrow mountain 
passes with a few hundred men, while Atahualpa 
could easily have gathered fifty thousand soldiers 
to overwhelm him. But Pizarro's men were fierce 
as wolves, while the Peruvians were as timid as 
sheep. There was no opposition to the onward 
march of the Spaniards. At last they came to a 
large village, which had been abandoned by the 
inhabitants and left for the use of the Spaniards. 
In this village Pizarro quartered his men, and 
made himself comfortable. 

He was now with about two hundred men in 
the heart of Peru, a thickly settled country of 
thousands of Indians, who could destroy him at 
any time they saw fit. But the Indians were su- 
perstitious, timid, and not warlike; while the 
Spaniards had horses and guns, and were long 
accustomed to war. 

Pizarro fortified his town as best he could, and 
then sent his own brother, with forty men, to 
Atahualpa's camp to ask him to pay the Spaniards 
a visit. "Tell the Inca that he must come, or 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 13 

else I shall make him. I will take a few horses 
and my men, and lay waste all his country." 

The terrified King then made haste to visit the 
Spanish camp. 

Pizarro waited all day for Atahualpa to appear. 
Late in the afternoon he learned that the King 
and his men were on the outskirts of the village. 
So word was sent him that supper was prepared 
and that it would be kept waiting until he arrived. 
In the meantime, Pizarro made ready for an at- 
tack, inasmuch as he feared the treachery of the 
Spaniards. 

Atahualpa appeared, borne on a litter, plated 
with silver and gold, and adorned with feathers. 
With him were five thousand soldiers, carrying 
clubs, slings, and bags of stones. The cortege 
halted in the great square, and Pizarro came for- 
ward to greet his guest. After an exchange of 
courtesies, a Spanish priest began to expound the 
Christian religion. The King listened, and grunted 
as if he were not interested. 

Then Atahualpa glanced around at his soldiers, 
speaking to them in their own language. The 
Spaniards thought this was a signal for war, drew 
their swords, and rushed upon the Indians. They 
met with but slight resistance. Hundreds of the 
Indians fell in the pursuit, for they all ran away. 



14 AMERICA FIRST 



Those who bore the King's htter dropped it, leav- 
ing the poor monarch on the ground. He was 
easily taken prisoner, all of his army having fled 
with loud cries over the mountains. 

Atahualpa saw what the Spaniards wanted, and 
offered to buy his life and liberty by giving up 
many wagon-loads of gold and silver. Pizarro 
agreed to this and the wagons began to come in, 
bringing riches in such abundance that it would 
have been impossible to carry all away. There 
were vessels, cups, bowls, idols, earrings, ornaments 
of all kinds — everything of pure gold or silver. 

"Take this and leave my country. Also bap- 
tize me as a Christian, if you will, for I would 
serve your God if you will give me back to my 
people," said Atahualpa. 

The eyes of Pizarro burned at the sight of so 
much wealth. If this were a part of it, why not 
have it all.^^ His men gathered around the great 
pile and began to wonder at their own riches. 

Pizarro, for no reason whatsoever, began to ac- 
cuse his captive of treachery, claiming he had an 
army ready to overwhelm the Spaniards, and 
hence deserved death for his conduct. He then 
put the King in chains, and had him tried for 
treason and for being a heathen. 

Poor Atahualpa was sentenced to be burned at 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 15 

the stake. In spite of his wilHngness to give up 
all his gold and silver, and to become a Christian, 
he was cruelly put to death. Thus did Pizarro 
carry out the practices of the early Spaniards in 
America, and complete the Conquest of Peru. 



THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH 

Ponce de Leon was a brave Spanish soldier who 
came over with Columbus on his second voyage. 
He was so fine a soldier that he was made gover- 
nor of a part of Hispaniola. One day he stood on 
a high hill, and saw the fair shores of Porto Rico. 
"I will conquer that island," said he, and forth- 
with sailed across the waters, annexing it as one 
of his possessions and establishing himself as 



governor. 



Like all the early Spaniards he was cruel to the 
Indians and greedy for gold. He made the poor 
natives work hard, and slew them for the slightest 
offenses. In consequence, De Leon was hated as 
were all the Spanish oppressors of that period. 

De Leon was getting old; his hair was white, 
his strength was waning, and he longed for th^ 
vigor and fire of youth. One time he complained 
to an Indian of his coming age. The cunning 
savage replied: "Across the sea. only a few days' 



16 AJVIERICA FIRST 



sail from here, there is a beautiful land full of 
flowers and fruit and game. It is the most beau- 
tiful place in the world, far more lovely than this 
island. Somewhere yonder there is a fountain of 
magic water, in which, if one bathes, his hair will 
become black and his limbs will become strong. 
He then can carry his sword without fatigue, and 
conquer his enemies with his strong arm. He will 
again be a young man!" 

De Leon listened gladly to the story of this wily 
savage who was merely trying to get him and his 
men to leave Porto Rico. He resolved to find the 
beautiful country, so that he might bathe in the 
Fountain of Youth. He called his men to him at 
once and told them about the wonderful water. 
In a few days he set sail on his quest, full of fool- 
ish hope and pride. 

It was in the early spring; the breeze was soft 
and the air was mild. In a short while the ship 
came to land, and De Leon named it Florida. 
He anchored his ship, and his men rowed him to 
shore. The spot where they landed was near the 
mouth of the St. John River, not far from where 
St. Augustine now stands. They were the first 
white men to set foot on the soil of the main- 
land of North America, since the days of the 
Northmen, five hundred years before. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 17 

Now began the vain search for the Fountain of 
Youth. Deep into the forests the soldiers plunged, 
wondering at the gorgeous flowers, the abundant 
fruit, and the plentiful game. The Indians scurried 
away at the approach of the strange white faces. 
De Leon and his men were bent on other things 
than Indians and flowers; they were hunting for 
their lost youth! In every stream, brook, river, 
and creek they bathed. Up and down the coast 
they wandered, trying the waters everywhere. 
They had never bathed as much before in all 
their lives, but it was all in vain! 

No matter where or how often he bathed. Ponce 
de Leon's hair remained white, his skin was dried 
and his limbs were bent with age and fatigue. In 
vain he tried a hundred places, and at last ex- 
claimed, "There is no such fountain here; we must 
return to Porto Rico." 

Accordingly, he set sail for the island from 
whence he had departed, just as old, just as white 
haired, and just as foolish in his belief as when he 
had started out on his fruitless mission. If De 
Leon did not find his Fountain of Youth, he at 
least did discover a beautiful country, and give a 
name to one of the future states of our Union. 

For nearly a year afterwards, De Leon and his 
men wandered up and down the coast of Florida. 



18 AMERICA FIRST 



Perhaps they were still seeking the Fountain of 
Youth. One day, they were attacked by the In- 
dians, and De Leon was wounded by an arrow. 
His followers put him on board ship and sailed 
away to Cuba. Here De Leon died of his wounds, 
with all his hopes unfulfilled 



DE SOTO DISCOVERS THE MISSISSIPPI 

Hernando de Soto had been with Pizarro in 
Peru, and had seen there the temples all plated 
with gold. He was eager for conquests and wealth 
of his own, and called for volunteers to follow him 
into the unexplored lands which lay northward. 
Hundreds of warriors flocked to his standard, thirst- 
ing for gold and adventure. It was always so with 
the Spaniards of those days! 

In May, 1539, De Soto, with six or seven hun- 
dred followers, landed at Tampa, in Florida. He 
carried blood-hounds to hunt the Indians and 
chains to fetter them. A drove of hogs was 
brought along for fresh meat. The men were pro- 
vided with horses, fire-arms, cannon, and steel 
armor. It was a gay and cruel band, bent on war 
and on finding gold. 

They had not gone far before out of the forests 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 19 

there stepped a white man, named Juan Ortiz, 
who had been captive among the Indians for ten 
years. He knew the Indian language well, and 
joined the adventurers as guide and interpreter. 

The band marched northward, everywhere rob- 
bing the villages of food, and terrifying the In- 
dians. A year passed, and there was no gold. 
Fear alone made the Indians meet them with 
peace, but this was repaid by the Spaniards with 
many brutal deeds. At last they came to the 
banks of the Savannah River, where they were met 
by a beautiful Indian Princess. As they neared 
the village, she came out to meet them and wel- 
come them, hoping thus to make friends with 
them. She was borne on a litter by four of her 
subjects. She alighted before De Soto, and made 
signs of peace and friendship. Taking a double 
string of pearls, which she wore, she hung it around 
the neck of De Soto and bade him follow her into 
the village. 

Here the party rested for awhile, entertained by 
the Princess and her people. But De Soto ill re- 
paid her kindness. On leaving, he and his men 
robbed the village of all the valuables they could 
find, and took the Princess captive. They made 
her follow them into the wilderness. But De Soto 
gained little by this cruelty, for, after a few days' 




20 AMERICA FIRST 



marching, the Princess escaped, taking with her a 
large box of pearls, which De Soto had prized very 
highly. 

They now marched westward and then south- 
ward, until they came to the town of Mavila, 
where Mobile, Alabama, now stands. The Indian 
Chief met De Soto with a great show of friendship, 
and begged him and a few of his soldiers to en- 
ter the palisade which protected the village. No 
sooner had they done so than the Chief shouted 
a word of insult and ran into one of the houses. 
In a moment a cloud of arrows swept from the 
houses, and many of the Spaniards fell dead. 
Only De Soto and a few of them escaped. Enraged 
by this treatment, the Spaniards assaulted the 
town, and a terrible battle followed, lasting nine 
hours. In the end the Spaniards won, but they 
lost many men, and nearly all of their property 
was destroyed. The town was burned and hosts 
of Indians killed, but De Soto could ill afford to 
lose anything more, for his men were few and the 
natives were many. 

A year and over had now passed, and the ad- 
venturers were tired of their journey. They had 
found no gold, but had experienced only hardship 
and battle and danger. They clamored to go 
home, but De Soto would not hear of it. He made 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 21 

them again take up their journey northward and 
westward. 

It was now a strange-looking army. The uni- 
forms with which they had started had worn out, 
and were replaced by skins, and mats made of 
rushes and bark. Their hair and beards had grown 
until they looked like wild men. All the hogs had 
long since been eaten, or had died on the march. 
The Indians, forced to go along and carry the 
baggage, often escaped at night, taking with them 
or destroying before they left whatever they could. 
The remaining horses were gaunt and haggard. 
There was no longer any medicine, and but little 
ammunition for the guns. These men were sick 
at heart and sorely discouraged. 

Onward they trudged, day by day, avoiding 
the Indians as much as they could. Two years 
passed, and again it was May. One morning they 
marched out of the thick undergrowth, and stood 
on the banks of a great river. It was the Miss- 
issippi, the Father of Waters, gazed upon for the 
first time by the eyes of a white man. It was a 
noble and imposing sight, as the vast volume of 
water rolled majestically before them on its way 
to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Little, however, did De Soto care for the maj- 
esty or beauty of this river. In his heart still 



22 AMERICA FIRST 

burned the desire for gold. He cried to his men: 
*'Let us hasten and build boats that we may 
cross." It was a hard task for his enfeebled fol- 
lowers, but they undertook the labor, that they 
and their few horses might get to the other side. 
Once over, they began the fruitless search, but al- 
ways with the same result. 

For another year they wandered over the coun- 
try, west of the Mississippi. Sometimes they had 
to fight the Indians, always losing a few men and 
shortening their ammunition supply. Sometimes 
they were kindly treated, and rested in the vil- 
lages. At one place the Indians thought De Soto 
was a god, and brought to him the sick to be 
healed and the blind to be cured. They were 

* 

sorely disappointed at the result. 

De Soto was now weary, emaciated and ill. He 
had at last lost his dreams, and the time had 
come for him to die. He had caught a fever from 
camping in a swampy place, and he knew his final 
hours were at hand. Calling his men around him, 
he begged their forgiveness for the perils and suf- 
fering he had made them endure, and appointed 
one among them to be his successor. The next 
day he died, and was buried near the camp. 

His followers, however, feared the Indians would 
attack them, should they discover that De Soto 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 23 

was dead, or find his body. For all along he had 
pretended that he was immortal and could neither 
die nor be slain. Therefore, at night, his body 
was taken up, wrapped in clothes filled with sand 
and stones, and carried to the middle of the river, 
where it was dropped into the keeping of the 
mighty current he had discovered. 

What was left of the band of adventurers 
fashioned a few boats of rough material, and em- 
barked on the river to make their way out of the 
wilderness. For many days and weeks they sailed 
and toiled, until at last a ragged remnant reached 
a settlement in Mexico, where they told the sad 
story of their wanderings and misfortunes. 



SIR WALTER RALEIGH 

W^alter Raleigh was a gallant young man of 
England, very bold and fond of adventure. He 
was an officer in Queen Elizabeth's army. One 
day, in London, he had an opportunity of attract- 
ing the attention of the Queen, herself. She was 
out for a walk in the royal park, attended by her 
courtiers, when the party came to a muddy place 
in the path over which the Queen must go. As 
she hesitated for a moment, there stepped from 



24 AMERICA FIRST 



the bystanders a young man who threw his cloak 
down over the mud so that she might pass with- 
out soihng her shoes. When she had crossed, she 
called the young man to her side and offered to 
pay for the velvet cloak. 

*'The only pay I desire, your Majesty, is 
permission to keep the cloak; for since your 
Majesty's foot has pressed on it, it has become 
valuable indeed," was the reply of the young 
officer. 

The Queen was pleased at the answer, and asked 
his name. "Walter Raleigh, most gracious lady,'* 
said he. The Queen passed on, but the next day 
she sent for him and made him one of the guards 
in the royal household. 

Raleigh soon grew into favor with the Queen. 
Court life was very gay in the reign of Elizabeth. 
Raleigh was among the most brilliant and success- 
ful of all the courtiers. He had many suits of 
satin and velvet, he wore a hat with a band of 
pearls, and his shoe-buckles cost several thousand 
dollars. He also had a suit of silver armor, studded 
with diamonds. He paid for all these things him- 
self, for he was not only a fine soldier and sailor, 
but was also one of the best business men of his 
time. 

Among the cherished plans of Raleigh was one 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 25 

to found a colony in the New World. The Queen 
said he might plant a colony in America anywhere 
he could find a place, but that he must do so at 
his own expense. The Queen was as thrifty as 
Raleigh was adventurous. 

So he fitted out two ships, and collected a lot 
of poor people who were willing to go anywhere, 
and he sent them across the ocean to plant a 
colony in the New World. After four months' sail- 
ing, they came to Roanoke Island, off the coast of 
North Carolina, Taking a look at the land, they 
sailed back home, and reported that the country 
was very beautiful, but that they would rather be 
in England. Raleigh named the land Virginia, in 
honor of the Virgin Queen; he was not quite sure 
where it was. 

The next year another company was sent out 
by Raleigh. They landed on Roanoke Island and 
started a colony, but in a short while they grew 
tired and a passing ship took them also back to 
England. Thus the second effort was a failure. 

These colonists, however, brought back to 
Raleigh many products of the country, among 
other things some tobacco, which they told Raleigh 
the Indians burned in their pipes, drawling the 
smoke through their mouths. Raleigh liked the 
idea of smoking, and soon began to use tobacco 



26 AMERICA FIRST 



like the Indians. As he sat in his room one day 
with his pipe, blowing the smoke into the air, his 
servant came in with a pot of ale. He was amazed 
to see smoke coming out of Raleigh's mouth. 
"The master is on fire," he cried in alarm, and 
threw the ale into Raleigh's face, very much to the 
latter's amusement and chagrin. 

One day while smoking before the Queen, 
Raleigh laid her a wager he could weigh the smoke 
coming from his pipe. The Queen accepted the 
bet. Raleigh thereupon weighed a small quantity 
of tobacco, smoked it all, and then carefully 
weighed the ashes. The difference between the 
weight of the tobacco and the weight of the ashes, 
he said, must be the weight of the smoke. The 
Queen laughingly paid the wager. 

Raleigh tried to found a third colony in America, 
but it came to grief and was lost; he therefore 
gave up all his plans of colonization. He had 
spent large sums of money, and besides he had 
married one of the Queen's maids-of-honor, which 
so displeased Elizabeth that Raleigh lost his 
favored place at Court. He managed to get up 
an exploring party to go to South America in 
search of gold. Soon after his return to England, 
the Queen died, and James I. became King. 

King James did not like Raleigh, and listened to 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 27 

his enemies, who were envious of his popularity. 
Charges were preferred against him, and he was 
thrown into prison. On the day of his trial, he 
pleaded his own cause with great eloquence. He 
spoke all day long, from early morning until dark, 
but he was condemned to death. 

For some reason he was not executed for fifteen 
years, but was kept confined in prison, where he 
spent his time writing a history of the world. 

He met death like a brave man, asking to be 
executed in the morning hours, for he had a fever 
at the time, and he knew that if he waited until 
evening the chill would come and he would shake; 
thus his enemies might think he trembled for fear. 
His request was granted. As he mounted the 
block, he touched the headsman's axe, saying, "It 
is a sharp medicine, but it will cure all ills." 

He then laid his aged head upon the block, and, 
when the axe fell, the old courtier's troubles were 
over. 



THE LOST COLONY OF ROANOKE 

When Sir Walter Raleigh tried a third time to 
plant a colony on Roanoke Island, he sent across 
the ocean farmers, mechanics and carpenters, with 



28 AMERICA FIRST 



their wives, thinking that famihes would be more 
content to stay than single men. The expedition 
was in charge of Captain John \Miite. 

The colonists landed on the island, built houses 
and forts, planted gardens, and cultivated the 
fields. Raleigh had advised them to make friends 
with the Indians. So, when one of the Chiefs 
came in. Captain \Miite greeted him, and gave him 
some cheap jewelry, a gaudy handkerchief, and a 
knife as presents. He then asked the Indian to 
kneel down while he conferred on him the title of 
Lord of Roanoke. 

All went well with the little colony. The houses 
were ready for the coming winter, the crops were 
growing, and the Indians were friendly. There 
was great rejoicing when it was announced that 
Mrs. Dare, the daughter of the Governor, had a 
little baby girl, the first white child of English 
parents to be born in America. 

Governor White thought he might safely sail 
back to England in order to get some supplies for 
the winter; he planned to return to his colony in 
a few weeks. So he went to England, leaving his 
happy people on Roanoke Island. But, when he 
reached England, he found that country in a state 
of great excitement over the threatened Spanish 
invasion. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY ^Z9 

It seems that a bold Englishman, Sir Francis 
Drake, had sailed into the harbor of Cadiz, in 
Spain, and had burned or captured all the ships 
there. This had made the Spaniards angry, es- 
pecially as he had said, "I have singed the beard 
of the Spanish King." 

The King of Spain fitted out a great fleet in- 
tended to destroy the English navy; he would 
land an army on English soil and plunder Eng- 
land herself! The fleet consisted of about one 
hundred and thirty ships, with 30,000 soldiers and 
sailors. It would not be considered wonderful in 
these days, but it was considered a great fleet 
then, and was called the *' Invincible Armada." 

This expedition created consternation in Eng- 
land, and everybody was hurried on board ships 
to fight the Spaniards. Hardly had the Armada 
sailed out of the harbor before a severe storm 
scattered the English ships; so that, later on, 
Drake and the other English sea captains fought 
the enemy singly. Fortunately, the English ships 
were light and were able to sail all around the big, 
heavy Spanish ships, doing them much damage 
and not suffering much themselves. The Armada 
circled the British Isles, meeting storm after storm, 
and pursued and harried by the English. At last 
the great fleet was broken up in a terrible gale, 



30 AMERICA FIRST 



many of the ships were lost, and the great Armada 
came to nought. 

It took a long time for all this to happen, and, 
in the meanwhile. Governor \Miite could not get 
back to his colony at Roanoke. One ship was 
fitted out and ready to sail, but the Government 
seized it and sent it off to fight the Spaniards. 
Another ship was made ready, and actually sailed, 
but the Captain turned pirate, and went after 
Spanish vessels in the West Indies. It w^as nearly 
three years before Governor \Miite found himself 
on board his own ship, on his way to the colonists 
and to his little granddaughter. 

We can imagine the feelings of the old Captain 
as he sailed over the seas, wondering what had 
become of his friends and family, and how they 
had fared all this time. They had looked for him 
to return to them in a few months, and here it 
was nearly three years! 

Land was sighted one day just after dark, and 
a light glimmered on shore. "That must be the 
home of one of the colonists," exclaimed the Gov- 
ernor. Hastily, a boat was lowered and he was 
rowed to shore. On landing, his men with him 
looked about, called aloud, blew trumpets and 
fired off their guns, but there was not a sight or a 
sound of any of the colonists. 




'On a tree nearby was carved the word 'Croatan.' " 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 31 

All night they searched, and next day. At last 
they came to a few huts, broken down and long 
unused; there were also some torn bits of cloth- 
ing scattered about. No signs could be found of 
any colonists having been near in a great while. 
On a tree near by was carved the word, croatan. 

Governor Wliite, when he saw this, thought he 
knew what had become of the colonists, because 
he had told them that if, for any cause, it was 
necessary for them to move away, they should 
carve on a tree or door-post the name of the place 
to which they were going. Croatan was the name 
of a tribe of Indians, and the Governor at once 
thought his colonists had gone to the island where 
those Indians lived. 

He tried to reach this island, but storms arose 
and blew him off his path. Besides which, his 
crew demanded that he return home. So he set 
sail for England, leaving the lost colony to its 
fate. From that day to this no one has ever 
known what became of the lost colony of Roanoke, 
or of the little baby girl whose eyes first saw the 
light on the soil of America. 



32 AMERICA FIRST 



SOME ADVENTURES OF JOHN SMITH 

Our hero of Jamestown, Virginia, was such a re- 
markable character that it is well for us to learn 
something of his adventures before he came to the 
New World. 

As a boy, he was strong, active, and full of dar- 
ing. Wlien he w^as fourteen years of age, he ran 
away from home to join in the wars of Holland. 
For four years he served as a soldier; then, get- 
ting tired of obeying orders, he left his company 
and built for himself a hut in the woods. Here he 
did all his ow^n work, cooked, and studied mih- 
tary tactics. He was determined to be a great 
soldier. 

He now set out for the East to join the Chris- 
tians who were fighting the Turks. As he passed 
through France, our young hero lost his money, 
and had a hard time to keep himself from starv- 
ing. Finally he reached a port, after walking 
many miles and begging food along the road, and 
he boarded a vessel bound for Italy. 

After they had been out at sea for a few days, 
a storm arose, and the ship looked as though she 
were about to go down. The sailors were so 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 33 

frightened they began praying. One of them said, 
"We have a lad here, not of our rehgion. He has 
brought on the storm. Overboard with him!" 
Thereupon, they seized John Smith, and cast him 
into the sea. But Smith was the best swimmer 
of his day, and the water was Hke land to him. 
So he swam for many hours, and finally landed on 
a strange shore. 

We next hear of him in Austria, where he joined 
the army and again set out on his way to fight the 
Turks. Smith won a great name for himself in 
the following way: A Turkish ofBcer, to amuse 
the ladies in his camp, sent a challenge to the Aus- 
trian army for single combat with any man they 
might send against him. 

"I will accept the challenge," said Smith, and 
rode out in front of both armies. He dared the 
Turkish ofiicer to come forth. They fought on 
horseback, and, as they rushed together. Smith 
directed his lance so that the point of it went 
through the eye of his opponent. The Turkish 
ofiicer fell dead, and Smith cut off his head, carry- 
ing it away on his spear. This so enraged the 
Turkish soldiers that another ofiicer rode out to 
avenge his comrade's death. But he shared a like 
fate, and Smith carried his head away on the end 
of his spear. Then with a great show of daring 



34 AMERICA FIRST 



he rode up to the Turkish hnes, and challenged 
another to come out and give him battle. 

Nothing daunted, a third Turk, big and fierce, 
came forth on a fresh horse. Smith was tired out 
by this time, having killed two men, but he spurred 
his horse into the combat. As the two came to- 
gether. Smith fell to the ground, and his com- 
panions thought he was dead. 

The Turkish officer leaped from his horse to 
complete the victory, but Smith was up in a hurry 
and, sword in hand, awaited his enemy. Fiercely 
they fought for an hour, at the end of which time 
Smith's sword went through the body of the big 
Turk, and his head also was carried off the field. 

By now the Turks had had enough fighting, and 
the ladies declared they were sufficiently amused 
for the day. 

In one of the battles which occurred. Smith fell 
into the hands of the Turks and was made a slave, 
according to the custom of those days. He wore a 
ring around his neck, and worked about the house 
for his Turkish mistress. She w^as so much pleased 
with him that she sent him as a present to her 
brother, who lived in a distant town. 

Smith found his new master very cruel indeed, 
and his life was hard. One day a bitter quarrel 
ensued between them, in which Smith slew his 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 35 

master. Taking off the dead man's clothes, he 
dressed himself up as a Turk, and marched away, 
out of captivity. No one molested him, for he 
spoke the Turkish language, and acted in every 
way as though he were a Turk. 

Soon he came to the border of Russia, and from 
there went peaceably through Germany, France 
and Spain, finally making his way back to Eng- 
land, where he told everybody about the wonder- 
ful adventures which had befallen him. 



MORE ADVENTURES OF JOHN SMITH 

When John Smith arrived in England, he found 
a ship with colonists on board ready to sail for 
the New World. He was asked to join the party 
and try his fortune in the strange land across the 
ocean. Of course, he agreed, and the ship soon 
set sail. Now, the King had arranged for the new 
colony to be governed by twelve counselors, whose 
names were put in a sealed envelope, not to be 
opened until the vessel reached America. There 
was much quarrelling on board as to which among 
the adventurers was the greatest; you may be sure 
that Smith did a deal of boasting, and would al- 
low that no one was greater than he. His vain 



36 AMERICA FIRST 



talk so alarmed some of those present and so en- 
raoed others that they put him in irons and kept 
him thus until thev reached land. 

They founded Jamestown, in Virginia but the 
colonists were not suited to the rude work of the 
wilderness. Thev were gentlemen who wanted 
gold, and they did not care to cut down trees, 
build houses, and plant gardens. Smith warned 
them they had better plant their gardens in the 
spring; if they wanted gold, the}' could seek it 
afterwards. But they would not listen to him, 
and went about the woods, digging around trees 
and seeking in the gullies for the precious metal. 
This made the Indians laugh, for they knew that 
the winter would find the white folks without food. 
And so it came to pass. A terrible starving time 
fell upon them, and many of them died. 

The Indians would not sell corn to the colo- 
nists, and so Smith set out to make them. He 
and a few men went up the James River in a 
boat, until they came to an Indian village. Here 
they made signs that Smith would exchange 
hatchets and beads for corn. The Indians knew 
the whites were starving, and shook their heads, 
"No." The trinkets Smith offered did not tempt 
them, but they said they would give a small piece 
of bread for Smith's gun and sword. 



STORIES OF OUR OWX fflSTORY 37 

Smith knew the Indians were afraid of his gun, 
so he fired it off several times. This frightened 
the Indians so much that they ran, yelHng, into 
the woods, which gave Smith and his men the op- 
portunity to seize a quantity of corn. The In- 
dians soon came back, carrying their painted idol 
which they thought would destroy the white men. 
But Smith and his men fired their guns again, 
whereupon, the Indians dropped the idol and ran 
away into the woods for the second time. 

Smith seized the idol and started to carry it 
away. When the Indians returned and saw him 
with their precious god, they gladly exchanged a 
boat load of corn for it; by their manner they 
showed Smith plainly that they wished he would 
go away as quietly as possible. This the brave 
Captain was not slow to do, especially as he had 
a large amount of good corn. 

Later on, Captain Smith decided to explore the 
country, and, with a few men and two Indian 
guides he sailed up the Chickahominy River in 
search of adventure. After he had sailed for some 
distance, with an Indian guide he went ashore, 
leaving the rest of the party to boil the pot for 
supper. He had not gone very far before he 
heard cries and sounds of strife from the direction 
of the canoe. The Indians had attacked the party 



38 AMERICA FIRST 



and had killed every one of them. This left Smith 
and his guide alone in a wilderness, surrounded by 
hostile savages. 

Smith now tied the Indian fast to his own arm, 
so that he could not escape and both began to 
run. An arrow whizzed out from the bushes, 
striking Smith in the thigh. Signs of Indians were 
all around. Their forms skulked in the under- 
growth, and their arrows flew through the air. 
Smith seized his guide and held him in front as a 
shield to protect himself from the arrows. In this 
way the brave soldier tried to walk backwards 
towards his canoe, but, not seeing where he was 
walking, he backed into a quicksand up to his 
waist. 

The Indians, realizing the plight of Smith and 
the Indian guide, ran yelling from the woods, and 
made them both captive. They were pulled from 
the mud, washed clean, and their clothes were 
dried before a fire. Smith knew that this was all 
in preparation for a great time when he would be 
tortured to death. 

Soon the Indians came with Smith to their 
Chief, Opecancanough, who looked at the captive 
with angry face. Smith thought his hour had ar- 
rived, but he resolved to put it off as long as he 
could. So he took out his pocket compass and 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 39 

showed it to the Indians. They looked at the 
trembhng needle, which they could see but not 
touch, on account of the glass, and were so as- 
tonished that they decided not to kill Smith at 
once, but to send him to Powhatan. 

When Powhatan saw the white man, he was 
greatly pleased, and ordered him fed abundantly 
that he might be fat when the time came to kill 
him. Smith ate so much bread and deer meat and 
vegetables that he fell ill, and asked Powhatan to 
let him send w^ord to his friends at Jamestown. 

Smith wrote a note on a piece of bark, with a 
bit of burnt stick, and gave it to a messenger to 
take to the colony. The messenger quickly de- 
livered the note, and came back with presents for 
Powhatan. But Powhatan said that any man who 
could make a piece of bark talk by merely marking 
on it was a magician, and should be put to death. 

One day Smith was brought in before the savage 
old Chief, bound with thongs, and laid upon a 
stone, while the warriors prepared to beat out his 
brains. This would have been the end of Cap- 
tain John Smith if Powhatan's daughter, Pocahon- 
tas, had not rushed in and begged her father to 
spare the life of the white man. Old Powhatan 
ordered Smith unbound, and he was led away to 
continue his adventures in the wilds of America. 



40 AJVIERICA FIRST 



PERSECUTION OF THE PILGRIMS AND 

PURITANS 

When James I. became King of England, he 
tried to enforce obedience to one Church, with all 
its forms and ceremonies and beliefs. Other kings 
had done this before him. Said he, "I will have 
one doctrine, one discipline, one religion in sub- 
stance and ceremony." 

This w^as very unwise in the King, for men 
should be allowed to worship God in their own 
way, and not in any king's way. But James cared 
little for the wishes of his people. "I will govern 
according to the common iveal, and not according 
to the common will,'' was his haughty speech. 

There were many people in England who were 
opposed to parts of the religious service and to 
many of the ecclesiastical ceremonies of the Church 
of England. They wished to purify the Church of 
its old customs, and so they were called "Puri- 
tans" by way of derision. The Puritans frankly 
refused to conform to the Church. 

"I shall make them conform, else I shall harry 
them out of this land, or even w^orse," said King 
James, in anger. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 41 

Some of the Puritans, believing they had a 
right to think for themselves in the matter of re- 
ligion, broke away from the Established Church, 
and quietly formed separate congregations of their 
own. One of these congregations met in the old 
Manor House of Scrooby, where lived a certain 
William Brewster, who was a staunch Puritan, 
Non-Conformist and Separatist. His followers were 
called "Non-Conformists" because they refused to 
conform to the Established Church, and "Sepa- 
ratists" because they separated from it. 

Every Sunday, numbers of people could be seen 
going to his house to listen to the sermon of their 
teacher and pastor. One of the most active of his 
congregation was William Bradford, whose home 
was near the old manor house. Bradford was 
only seventeen years old at the time he joined 
the congregation at Scrooby. 

When King James heard of this meeting he was 
very wroth indeed. "They must conform to my 
Church and my service, or it shall be the worse 
for them!" he declared. 

Therefore, some of the Puritans were taken and 
put in prison, others had their houses watched day 
and night, while still others were threatened with 
a loss of their means of livelihood. All of them 
lived in terror of the King and his agents. No 



42 AMERICA FIRST 



wonder the Puritans resolved to leave the country, 
if possible. 

Though the King said he would harry them out 
of the land, they now found it hard to get away. 
The King's officers were told to arrest any who 
attempted to go. Accordingly, they had to make 
their plans with great secrecy. 

A large company of the Puritans hired a ship 
solely for themselves, and agreed with the owner 
to be ready on a certain day to board her with 
all their goods and chattels. After long waiting, 
much exposure, and many delays, the ship finally 
arrived one night, and the Puritans went on board, 
hoping to get to Holland. 

Hardly were they gathered together before the 
Captain betrayed them into the hands of the 
King's officers. They were put into open boats, 
and were rifled of all their possessions. Even their 
shirts were torn open in the search for money. 
Their books and papers were taken away. Then 
the entire company was sent back to town, and 
put into prison, — some for a month and others 
for even a longer time. 

But the Puritans refused to give up their con- 
gregation, and they would neither conform to the 
King's Church nor bow to his will. After they 
were all out of prison, they secretly made an ar- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 43 

rangement with a Dutch Captain to take them on 
board his vessel at a point agreed upon, far from 
any town. 

The women and children were sent to this place 
in a small boat, which, arriving ahead of time, put 
into a small creek to wait. Unluckily the time 
came for low tide and they stuck in the mud. 
There was no way to reach them, nor could they 
get away until the tide rose and floated the boat. 
In the meanwhile, the ship arrived, ready for 
her passengers. 

The men of the Puritan party had come and 
were walking impatiently along the shore. One of 
the ship's boats was sent to get them; for it was 
thought that the women and children could be 
taken up later. But just as these men were safely 
on board, an armed body of the King's pursuers 
was seen coming across the fields. The Dutch 
Captain, in great haste, weighed anchor, hoisted 
his sails, and made away. 

The Puritans were in great despair over leaving 
their families to the mercy of the officers, but the 
Captain refused to go back, since he feared the 
wrath of his own Government at his thus defying 
the will of the King of England. Therefore, the 
men were landed in Holland. 

But it was not long before the English King 



44 AMERICA FIRST 



grew tired of the controversy. "Let them go; 
the country is well rid of them," said he, and 
gave orders to make no more arrests. Therefore, 
in a short while, the women and children and the 
rest of the Puritan Church joined the men in Hol- 
land, and began their new life in a strange land. 
It was now that they called themselves "Pilgrims." 

For the next eleven or twelve years the Pil- 
grims lived in Holland. But it was hard to keep 
English customs in a foreign land. Their religion 
was too solemn and sober for the pleasure-loving 
Dutch. The young people were fast learning the 
Dutch language and customs. The elders saw 
more dangers to their religion from the Sunday 
pastimes of the people, than they found in Eng- 
land from the wrath of the King. Besides, they 
were poor, and there was also a rumor of war 
coming on. 

Therefore, the Pilgrims decided upon another 
change. The King of England granted them land 
in the New World, and let them know he would 
not molest them in their worship. Doubtless he 
was glad to put the ocean between him and the 
troublesome congregation. 

Two vessels were engaged to take them across 
— the Speedwell, lying at Delfthaven, in Holland, 
and the Mayflower, taking on supplies at South- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 45 

ampton, in England. The two vessels started out 
together, but the Speedwell sprung a leak, and had 
to put back into harbor. The Pilgrims, about one 
hundred and twenty in all, went aboard the May- 
flowery and set sail for the shores of America, glad 
to turn their backs on the persecutions and hard- 
ships of the Old World, and knowing that they 
would find in their new home freedom to worship 
God in their own way. 



THE ADVENTURES OF MILES STANDISH 

Captain Miles Standish was an English soldier 
who, in his wanderings, came across the Pilgrim 
settlement in Holland. He liked the courage of 
these brave countrymen of his, and attached him- 
self to their community, though he would not 
join their Church. When they began to discuss a 
plan for coming to America, he spoke up heartily 
in favor of it. 

He was fond of adventure, and knew there were 
Indians and bears and wild creatures of all kinds 
in America to fight; and, since fighting was his 
main business and pleasure, he resolved to be 
among the very first to go over with the Puritans. 

Accordingly, Miles Standish was among the co- 



46 AMERICA FIRST 



lonial passengers on the Mayflower. For nine 
weeks, the Httle ship battled with wind and waves. 
It was a trying voyage, but Miles Standish was 
among those who did not lose courage. He strode 
the deck in the worst weather, and helped the 
sailors manage the ship. He had a cheerful voice 
and a kindly manner with his fear-smitten com- 
panions, — all of which aided many a discouraged 
soul in standing the long voyage. 

When the ship reached Cape Cod, Standish, 
with a few followers, went on shore, looking for a 
place to establish a settlement. Such a place was 
found almost at the very end of Cape Cod. The 
men went in single file for about a mile, when 
they saw five or six Indians, with a dog, coming 
towards them. When the savages caught sight 
of the white men, they ran into the wood and 
whistled for the dog to follow. 

Standish and his men pursued the Indians, but 
could not overtake them. When night came, they 
built a fire, set three men to act as sentinels, and 
slept on the ground until morning. By daybreak 
they were up and after the Indians, but found no 
trace of them nor of any houses. 

They next discovered some mounds of sand that 
looked like graves. These they dug into, and 
came upon bows and arrows. But they covered 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 47 

them over again, knowing the Indians did not Hke 
their dead to be disturbed. Other mounds con- 
tained baskets of corn, which the men very 
promptly carried away, since they were much in 
need of it for bread. 

As they went through the woods, they came 
upon a deer-trap, which was such a curious con- 
trivance that Wilham Bradford examined it with 
much curiosity. Stepping upon the hidden spring, 
the trap closed on his leg so tightly that he called 
lustily for his companions to hasten and relieve him. 

After wandering through the woods all day, 
they came to the shore, shot off their guns as a 
signal to the ship, and then were taken on board 
the vessel. This ended the first adventure of 
Miles Standish at Cape Cod. 

After exploring the land several times for a 
place to found their colony, and locating none to 
suit them, the company spent about a month in 
the Mayflower, making the best of a very uncom- 
fortable situation. At last, toward the end of De- 
cember, they came to a place which John Smith, 
of Virginia, in one of his voyages along this coast, 
had named Plymouth. Here they landed and 
founded their colony. 

An Indian tribe had lived among the Plymouth 
hills, but a plague had swept the entire tribe away. 



48 AMERICA FIRST 



The stubble in the fields was several years old, and 
the rude shelters of the Indians were rotting. 
There was no one to dispute the rights of the 
settlers to claim the soil for their own. 

Rough houses of logs were soon built, the spaces 
between the cracks of the logs being daubed with 
mud. Oiled paper was used instead of glass for 
the windows. The weather was now very cold, 
the snow covered the ground, and almost blocked 
the people in their homes. There was little fuel 
and scant food. The colonists suffered dreadfully. 

Many of them died, including Rose Standish, 
the beautiful young wife of the brave Captain. 
But the Captain himself kept up staunchly, and 
went among the sick and dying, doing all he could 
to help them. At one time he and six others were 
the only well ones in the place. These well ones 
brought all the wood, made all the fires, cooked 
all the food, attended to all the beds, and even 
washed the clothes for the entire colony. When 
spring came, only fifty of the company were left 
alive. It was a dreadful winter, but the Pilgrims 
were not dismayed by this bad beginning. 

For fear the Indians would discover the weak- 
ness of the whites, and attack them in their sick 
and helpless condition, the graves of those who had 
died were ploughed over and sown with seed. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 49 

During the spring they made friends with some 
of the Indians, particularly with Massasoit, an In- 
dian Chief, and with Squanto, another chieftain 
who knew how to speak English. Squanto was 
very helpful to the colonists. He taught them 
how to. catch fish and how to tread eels out of the 
mud. He told them to plant corn when the oak 
leaf was as big as a mouse's ear, and to drop a 
dead herring in each hill for fertilizer. He in- 
formed the unfriendly Indians that the white set- 
tlers kept the plague in their cellars, beside the 
black thunder powder, and could let it loose when- 
ever they chose. In fact, he saved the little colony 
from utter destruction at the hands of the un- 
friendly savages. 

At one time, Captain Standish had gone in a 
boat to buy corn from a tribe of Indians down the 
coast. When he arrived, the Indians formed a 
plot to kill him. One of them invited him to 
spend the night in his house. The wary Captain 
did not close his eyes. He could not understand 
what they said, but their actions were suspicious. 
Pacing to and fro, keeping his gun always ready, 
he watched through the long night for any sign of 
attack. "Why do you not sleep?" asked an In- 
dian. **I have no desire to sleep in the house of 
a stranger," replied Standish. In the morning, 



50 AMERICA FIRST 



Standish backed out of the house, making the 
Indian follow him to his boat, and even back to 
Plymouth. 

The Massachusetts Indians formed a plot to de- 
stroy all the English at Plymouth. Massasoit sent 
word to the colonists that, if they would save their 
lives, they must kill the Massachusetts Chiefs. 
Standish, with eight men, undertook the mission. 
He went to their village, and pretended to trade 
for furs. The trade was very smooth, for smiling 
and fair words were spoken. But the Indians 
said, "The Captain's eyes are w^atchful, and there 
is anger in his heart." 

Then came a Chief, whetting his knife. He said 
boastfully, "By and by it shall see, and by and 
by it shall eat, but not speak." Then, turning to 
Standish, he said, "You are a great Captain, if 
you are a little man. I am not a Chief, but I 
have great strength." 

Then Standish gave a signal, and sprang upon 
the boasting Indian. Snatching the knife from the 
hands of the astonished savage, he drove it through 
his heart, laying him dead on the floor. The com- 
panions of the Captain made an onslaught on 
the other Indians, whereupon they all fled shriek- 
ing to the woods. This ended the combat and 
the conspiracy. From that time on the name of 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 51 

Standish was enough to make the Indians tremble 
with fear. 

In this way, Captain Standish kept down the 
Indians, inspired hope and courage among the 
colonists, and secured peace and prosperity for 
Plymouth. 

BUILDING A CANOE 

The birch bark canoe was the most beautiful 
and ingenious of all the Indians' inventions. It 
was so broad that it could float in shallow streams, 
so strong that it could shoot dangerous raj^ids, and 
so light that one man could easily carry it on his 
back. 

To make such a boat the Indians picked out a 
tall tree, with thick bark and with as few branches 
as possible. This they would cut down, care being 
taken to prevent it falling against other trees, 
thereby hurting the bark. The bark was then 
split along the length of the tree, and carefully 
peeled off in pieces the length and breadth of the 
canoe. They were very particular not to have any 
holes in the bark, which, during the season when 
the sap was in the tree, was firm and fine. 

The bark was then spread on the ground in a 
smooth place, the inside downwards, and, in order 
to stretch it better, logs of wood or stones were 



52 AMERICA FIRST 



placed on it. Then the edges of the bark were 
gently bent upwards to form the sides of the boat. 
Some sticks were fixed into the ground at a dis- 
tance of three or four feet from each other, form- 
ing the curved line which the sides of the boat 
were intended to make. The bark was bent to 
the form which the boat was to have, being held 
firmly in position by the sticks thus driven into 
the ground. 

The ribs of the boat were made of tough hickory, 
cut into long, flat pieces, and bent to the shape of 
the boat, the wider ones in the middle, and the 
narrower ones towards the ends. When thus bent 
and tied in position, the ribs were placed upon the 
bark about ten inches apart. 

The upper edge of each side of the boat was 
made of two thin poles, the boat's length, and 
put close together with flat edges to hold the bark 
between. These long poles, firmly attached to the 
ribs, determined the shape of the boat. The edge 
of the bark was now inserted between the poles on 
each side, and was sewed to the poles by means of 
mouse-wood, bark, or roots. 

The poles were now sewed together at the end, 
and the bark w^as made water tight where it was 
joined by pounded bark of the red elm. Bands 
were placed across the top of the ribs of the boat 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 53 

to prevent spreading or crushing in, and boards 
were laid across the bottom to step on. The boat 
was then ready for use. 

This was a frail structure, and had to be treated 
very tenderly. The sides were easily torn open by 
rocks and hidden branches of trees, and, therefore, 
the Indian was always on the lookout for danger. 
The bottom could be easily crushed through; hence 
the Indian went barefoot, and entered the canoe 
very gingerly. 

But with such a canoe three or four persons 
could easily float, and in some of the war canoes 
even a dozen Indians could find space. With long 
paddles and strong arms, the Indians forced their 
craft over the lakes and along the rivers with great 
ease and speed. It was strong enough to hold a 
heavy load, so long as it did not strike a rock or 
hidden tree. Such a boat could shoot down a 
dangerous rapid, if it was directed by skillful hands. 
When the Indians wished to move from one lake 
to another, they lifted the canoe out the water, 
strapped it across the back of one man, who took 
it over the trail across country from one body of 
water to another. 



54 AI^IERICA FIRST 



THE FLIGHT OF ROGER WILLIAMS 

There was a young Puritan minister, named 
Roger Williams, who lived with his wife and two 
children in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. His 
congregation was small, but his labors, especially 
the comfort he gave to those who were sick or in 
distress, made him greatly beloved. 

He at one time had preached at Plymouth, and 
had visited the Xarragansett Indians. He slept in 
the wigwams, and ate the food of his Indian friends. 
He went fishing and hunting with them, and learned 
from them many secrets of Indian woodcraft. After 
awhile he could speak their language, and for hours 
would sit around their camp fires and hear them 
tell their stories. In this way the Indians became 
his firm friends, and he thus came to understand 
much about them he would not otherwise have 
known. 

"WTien Roger Williams went to Salem to preach, 
he became very bold in his opposition to many of 
the doctrines of his Puritan brethren. For in- 
stance, it was the Puritan law that everybody had 
to go to meeting on Sunday, whether he wished to 
or not. At the beating of the drum, or the ring- 
ing of the bell, or the sounding of the horn, every- 



STORIES OF OUR 0^^'N HISTORY 55 

body, who was not sick in bed, had to march out 
and proceed to the meeting-house. In fact there 
was a captain who inspected the houses to see that 
nobodv was in hidinoj. 

Roger "Wilhams thought this was wTong. **We 
should not compel people to go to church. If their 
own consciences do not urge them to attend wor- 
ship, let them stay at home," he said. 

"VMien the Puritans heard of this, thev were 
greatly shocked, and declared Roger Williams a 
dangerous member of society. To them it was a 
CTeat crime to stav awav from church. 

Another rule of the Puritans was that every man 
had to pay a tax for the support of the Church. 
No matter whether he was a good man or a wicked 
one, he had to go to church and had to pay for 
the preacher. 

Roger WilHams thought this was wTong. "No 
man should pay for his religion unless he wishes 
to do so. His conscience and not the General 
Court should determine the amount," he said. 

"\Mien the Puritans heard of this they were still 
more surprised and shocked, for by this time 
Roger W'iUiams was becoming so bold that there 
were threats of sending him out of the community. 

But this was not all, bv anv means. Roger 
TN'ilhams declared, "The King of England has no 



56 AMERICA FIRST 



right to give away the lands in America. They do 
not belong to him, but they belong to the Indians. 
The Indians alone have a title to them, and it is 
from the Indians alone they can be bought." 

This was more than the Puritans could stand. 
"It is dangerous to have such a man in our colony. 
He must be sent back to England, or he will break 
up our religion," said the Puritan leaders, and they 
straightway ordered him before the General Court. 

Little mercy did they show the brave minister. 
"Back you go to England in six weeks, or else you 
must stop preaching those dangerous doctrines," 
was what they told him. 

"I shall not go to England. I came here to find 
freedom for my conscience and here I find nothing 
but persecution. You are trying to do in America 
the very thing for which we left England," replied 
Williams boldly. 

So he went on preaching his own doctrines and 
the Puritans decided to seize him, put him on 
board a ship, and send him to England. The kind 
Governor Winthrop secretly sent him word that he 
had better escape, or else he would be arrested. 

Wlien Williams received the message, he hastily 
left his wife and children, and, taking a package of 
food and a heavy cane, committed himself to the 
wilderness. It was mid-winter when he started. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 57 

The ground was covered with snow, and he had 
only a small pocket compass to guide him through 
the forest. Fearing that the oflScers of the General 
Court would try to overtake him, he traveled only 
at night, hiding by day in caves or in the deep 
shelter of the woods. 

Thus he wandered for fourteen weeks. At night 
he built a fire as best he could, and cooked the 
game he had caught in the snow. Oftentimes he 
had only acorns to eat. If it had not been for the 
wigwams of his Indian friends, which he found 
along his journey, he would have frozen to death; 
and but for their aid he would long since have 
starved. 

At length he came to Massasoit, one of his oldest 
friends, "I have come to live with you. My white 
friends have cast me out, and I am cold, hungry, 
and very tired," said he to the Indian Chief. 

Massasoit took him into his own wigwam, laid 
him down on a couch of skins, and covered him up 
so he might be warm. Then Williams slept long, 
while Massasoit wondered what this friend had 
done that he was cast out of Salem. Wlien Wil- 
liams awoke he was given food to eat, a pipe to 
smoke, and warm clothes to put on. 

When Massasoit heard his story he said, "Stay 
here until the snow has gone, and the spring has 



58 AMERICA FIRST 



come. They shall not find you or hurt you." So 
Williams stayed in the wigwam of Massasoit until 
spring. 

By this time, the Puritans decided to let him 
alone, provided he did not come back to them. 
Hearing this, Williams sent for his wife and chil- 
dren, and, with a few friends who joined him, 
journeyed to Narragansett Bay in the spring. He 
bought some land from Canonicus, and made a 
settlement. 

"We shall call this place Providence, for the 
Lord has provided for us," said he. And so it is 
called to this day. 

OLD SILVER LEG 

The Dutch took possession of the Hudson River 
settlements, and for forty years their Governor 
ruled over the colony at the mouth of the river. 
They called their town. New Amsterdam. Traders 
came from Holland to traffic with the Indians, and 
to bring supplies to the merchants of the town. 
The fat old burghers sat on the door-steps of their 
quaint Dutch homes, and smoked their pipes of 
peace, perfectly satisfied with themselves and with 
all the world. 

At last came Peter Stuyvesant from Holland to 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 59 

govern the colony. He had been a fine soldier, 
and had lost a leg by fighting in the West Indies. 
He had a wooden leg, of which he was so proud 
that he had silver bands put around it as orna- 
ments. He used to tap it with his heavy stick 
and say, ^'I value this old wooden leg more than 
all my other limbs put together." The people 
called him "Old Silver Leg." 

Peter was very high-tempered and obstinate. He 
made his own laws and had them obeyed; but they 
were very good laws and he was a just old gover- 
nor, even if he was cross at times. He had a 
Council of nine men, chosen by himself, but as 
they were self-satisfied and sleepy old merchants, 
all they did was to smoke their pipes and hear 
what Stuyvesant had to say. 

If the people did not suit him, or quarreled 
among themselves, or disobeyed his laws, the irate 
old man would berate them with his heavy stick, 
and storm up and down the village streets. But 
as he was generally right in all he did and required, 
the people let him have his way, however much he 
belabored some of them over their backs. Mean- 
while, the colony prospered, the Indians were 
friendly, ships came and went, schools and churches 
were opened, and the people were contented and 
happy. 



60 AMERICA FIRST 



And so the years went by, until the English 
settlements, up in Connecticut, began to worry the 
Dutch. As a matter of fact the English still 
claimed the land the Dutch had occupied, because 
the territory had been explored by John Cabot, an 
Englishman, and because Henry Hudson was an 
Englishman, even if he did sail under a Dutch 
flag. At last the King of England boldly gave 
the Dutch colony to his brother, the Duke of 
York, and told him to go and take possession. 
This was not very just, but it was the way kings 
did things in those days. 

Stuyvesant was in Boston when he heard of 
those high-handed plans, and he at once sent word 
to the Dutch to prepare for war. The Council 
met and decided to build defenses for their town; 
but as this cost money and as the people were very 
thrifty, and as the enemy was not in sight, the 
poor little city got no fortifications at all. 

When the English fleet appeared off the coast of 
New Amsterdam, demanding the surrender of the 
town, the people ran to their houses and hid them- 
selves, praying for the brave old Governor to come 
home and tell them what to do. When Stuyve- 
sant returned from Boston he was in a great 
rage because nothing had been done. He stormed 
and threatened the Council for not obeying his 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 61 

orders, and lie swore he would not surrender his 
town. 

The burghers listened with dismay. The Eng- 
lish commander had told them to surrender, and 
they could live peaceably under the English flag. 
Otherwise he would destroy their town and drive 
them away. They did not care whose flag they 
lived under so long as they were let alone. Eng- 
lish or Dutch, it was all one to the peace-living 
merchants of New Amsterdam. 

They showed Stuyvesant a copy of the sum- 
mons to surrender. But he thrust it in his pocket, 
and told the Council to go home; he would defend 
the colony all by himself, he said. The burgo- 
masters called a meeting of the people, who agreed 
to surrender the town, and a note was sent to 
Stuyvesant to that effect. He used the note to 
light his pipe, and made no reply. 

Governor Winthrop, of Connecticut, wrote him a 
letter, advising him to surrender. The burgomas- 
ters came in a body to present this communication. 
But Stuyvesant tore it into bits, threw the pieces 
in the face of the nearest man, hit another over 
the head with his pipe, and kicked the rest down 
stairs with his wooden leg. '*You are a pack of 
cowards," he called after them. "Out of my sight! 
I have done with you!" 



62 AMERICA FIRST 



In the meantime, the EngHsh had sent their own 
men among the Dutch, and had told them of the 
terrible things that would happen to them if they 
did not surrender. On the other hand, they were 
promised they would not be molested if they 
quietly gave up their town. 

And so the Dutch, who loved their stores, houses, 
gardens and cattle, and cared little for the Dutch 
flag, decided they would surrender anyhow. Wlien 
Stuyvesant heard of it, he swore a great oath, but 
had to agree, for there was nothing else to do. 

The treaty of surrender was brought to him to 
sign. He threw away the pen and tore up the 
paper. The next day the people gathered in a 
crowd before his house, and harangued him for 
three hours. They put the treaty on the end of a 
pole and thrust it up to his window. At last he 
signed it, threw it out, and closed the shutters. 
The British then entered the city, and changed 
the name from New Amsterdam to New York. 

Stuyvesant retired to his farm on Manhattan 
Island, where he lived quietly the rest of his days, 
dying at the ripe old age of eighty years. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY C3 



WILLIAM PENN AND THE QUAKERS 

Among the religious sects which came to Eng- 
land about the time of the settlement of America 
were the Quakers, or, as they called themselves, 
"The Society of Friends." They believed that no 
special honor should be paid to anyone, and that 
all men should be addressed as "Friend." They 
even spoke of the King as "Friend James" or 
"Friend Charles." They would not take off their 
hats in the presence of anyone, not even the King 
himself. They always used the w^ords "thee" and 
"thou," instead of the word "you" in speaking to 
a person. 

Soon after Charles II was crowned King of Eng- 
land, William Penn, who had become a Quaker, 
was given an audience. W^hen Penn entered the 
royal room, he found the King standing with his 
hat on, as was the custom; and all the courtiers 
were around him uncovered and vying in their 
efforts to flatter him and do him the most honor. 

Penn came up with his hat on. The King at 
once removed his hat and bowed very low to the 
approaching Quaker. "Why dost thou remove thy 
hat, Friend Charles.^" asked Penn. "Because it 



C4 AMERICA FIRST 



is the custom of this Court for only one man to 
remain covered," explained the King, to the amaze- 
ment of the courtiers. 

The Quaker men dressed very simply in drab 
or gray clothes, with broad -brimmed hats. The 
women wore gray dresses, with simple white cuffs 
and collars. No matter how rich or poor, the 
Quakers wore costumes that cost about the same. 
They believed all men to be equal, and an honest 
man who tried to do right was entitled to as much 
respect as the King himself, and more so, if the 
King was not a good man. 

In their meetings the Quakers had no music and 
no preaching. The people came in and sat silently, 
until someone was moved by the spirit to speak or 
pray. Not having any paid preacher, themselves, 
they believed no one should be paid to preach the 
Gospel, and so they refused to pay taxes to sup- 
port the Church of England. Since the Bible said 
it was wrong to swear, they refused to take an 
oath in the courts of law, saying that a truthful 
man did not have to swear to what he said; if 
he were not a truthful man he did not mind swear- 
ing to a lie. 

They did not believe in courts of law and quar- 
rels, and they refused to go to law about anything, 
but settled their differences among themselves. Not 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 65 

believing in quarrels and bloodshed, they disap- 
proved of taking a part in war. They were a 
people of peace, who believed in equality, brotherly 
love, and simplicity of living. 

It was not long before the English Government 
made laws to prevent the spread of the doctrine 
of the Quakers. These laws forbade them to hold 
meetings. Many of the Quakers were thrown into 
prison and fined, some were publicly flogged, and 
all were hooted at and sometimes stoned upon the 
public streets. But the Quakers made no protest, 
and endured all these persecutions with true Chris- 
tian spirit. 

The Quakers attracted the attention of the 
young man, William Penn. He was the son of a 
famous English Admiral, Sir William Penn. When 
the boy was fifteen years old, he was sent to Ox- 
ford University, where he met a Quaker who had 
great influence over him. At that time the stu- 
dents were required to wear long black gowns. 
Penn and some of the other younger men refused 
to wear these gowns, and even went so far as to 
tear them off of some of their fellow students. 
For this he and his friends were expelled from 
College. 

His father was very angry, and sent William to 
Paris to indulge in the gay fife of that city, hoping 



66 AJVIERICA FIRST 



it would divert his mind. After two years, how- 
ever, the young man returned to England un- 
changed in mind, and openly joined the Society 
of Friends. It was then that he began to preach 
their doctrines. For this his father disowned liim, 
and the King ordered him thrown into prison. 

While in prison he wrote many books and pam- 
phlets on religious subjects, and sternly refused to 
change his faith. When he was released, he and 
his father were reconciled, just a short while before 
the old Admiral died, leaving William Penn his 
estate. 

Penn now found himself a wealthy young man, 
and resolved to carry out his plan of founding a 
colony in America for the persecuted Quakers. It 
seems that the King owed Penn's father a lot of 
money he had borrowed from him. Penn proposed 
to the King to cancel the debt by receiving a grant 
of land in America. This was easy for the King 
to do, for it cost him nothing, and was a good 
way to get rid of the debt. 

The King said to Penn, "I shall never see you 
again, William, for the Indians will boil you in 
their kettle.'* 

"Nay, nay, Friend Charles," replied Penn, "I 
shall be friends with the savages, and pay them 
for their lands." 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 67 

The King was astonished, and asked Penn why 
he intended to buy lands that were the King's by 
right of discovery. 

"Discovery!'* exclaimed Penn. "Suppose a 
canoe full of savages had landed in England, 
would they own this kingdom by right of dis- 
covery?" To such a question the King made no 
reply. 

Penn wanted his grant named "Sylvania," which 
means woodland. But the King would add "Penn" 
to the name in honor of the old Admiral, his 
friend. And so the future colony of the Quakers 
came to be called "Pennsylvania." 



THE CHARTER OAK 

When James II became King of England, he 
made a determined effort to overthrow the liberties 
of the American colonies. He was a bigoted 
tyrant, who tried to work hardships upon his own 
people in England, and to discipline the colonists 
abroad. His idea was to take away the charters 
of the New England colonies, with all the rights 
granted them by former kings, and to make them 
submit to the arbitrary rule of governors whom he 
should appoint. Sometimes it seemed that the 



68 AMERICA FIRST 



kings of England did everything they could to 
destroy the affection of the people of America. 

King James sent one of his adherents, Sir Ed- 
mmid Andros, to New England to be Governor- 
general of those colonies, with authority to take 
away their charters and to rule them according to 
his own and the King's will. Some of the colonies 
submitted, but those of Connecticut absolutely re- 
fused to surrender the precious document. Andros 
lived in Boston in the most arrogant style, and for 
a while Connecticut was left undisturbed. 

After nearly a year had passed, and the charter 
of Connecticut still remained unsurrendered, An- 
dros resolved to go after it. Therefore he made 
his appearance in Hartford with a body-guard of 
sixty soldiers, and marched up to the Chamber 
where the Assembly was in session, declaring 
boldly, "I have come by the King's command to 
order you to surrender the charter of Connecticut. 
I am henceforth to be the Governor of this colony, 
and to give you such laws as it pleases the King to 
grant. You will at once place the charter in my hands. 
It is the will of His Majesty, King James II." 

Now, the charter allowed the people of Connec- 
ticut to elect their own Governor, and to have 
their own Assembly, and to make their own laws. 
Consequently, they did not wish to surrender it. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 69 

Nor were they willing to displease the King if it 
could be avoided. Therefore they showed much 
respect to the blustering Andros, and began to 
explain, entering upon a long and calm debate of 
why they could not place the charter in his hands. 

Governor Treat, who was presiding, addressed 
Andros with respect and remonstrance. He said: 

"Sir, the people of this country have been at 
great expense and hardship in planting this colony. 
Their blood and treasure have been freely poured 
out in defending it against savages and all others 
who tried to drive them from their possessions. 
We came here by consent of the King, and His 
Majesty, Charles II., the brother of our most gra- 
cious King, granted us our liberties only fifteen 
years ago in a charter which we greatly prize. We 
beg you, therefore, to represent to the King that 
we are his loyal subjects and will remain faithful 
to him, but w^e earnestly desire to keep in our 
possession the rights and privileges granted us." 

Thus the Governor spoke at great length, while 
Andros grew more and more impatient. He had 
not come to hear arguments; he had come to get 
the charter, and w^ords were wasted on him. Night 
was drawing on, and still the members spoke, as if 
they would wear out the tyrant with their argu- 
ment. At length Andros thundered forth, 



70 a:merica first 



"Xo more of this; I am weary of your words. 
Bring in the charter, or I shall arrest the Assembly." i 

Reluctantly, the box containing the charter was 
brought in and laid on the table. Candles were 
lighted and placed beside it so that it could be 
seen. It was opened, exposing to view the docu- 
ment the tyrant sought. Andros rose from his seat 
and advanced to the table to seize the precious 
papers, and thus end the whole matter, when sud- 
denly someone threw a cloak upon the candles, 
completely extinguishing them, and leaving the 
room in darkness. 

Amidst the confusion there was a sound of 
papers being rolled and of feet rushing from the 
hall. TNTien the candles were re-lighted the charter 
had disappeared. It was nowhere to be found, and 
to all the threats and ravings of Andros the mem- 
bers returned a blank stare. No one knew what 
had become of it. It had disappeared as com- 
pletely as if it had sunk into the earth. 

Wliat had happened.^ In the Chamber, a brave 
young militiaman. Captain Joseph Wadsworth, had 
thrown his cloak over the candles. He had then 
made a rush for the table, seized the charter and 
leaped out of a window. To the crowd assembled 
without he cried: "Make way for me. I have the 
charter, and it shall not be surrendered to a 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 71 

tyrant." The crowd cheered, and let him through. 
He disappeared in the darkness, just as the candles 
were being re-lighted inside the Chamber and An- 
dros was raving in his disappointment. 

Wads worth sped onward, looking for a safe 
place in which to conceal the document. He came 
to a great oak tree, standing in front of the house 
of one of the colonial magistrates. There was a 
hollow in the tree, ample inside, but with an open- 
ing not larger than a man's hand. Into this 
Wadsworth thrust the charter, and concealed the 
opening with leaves and rubbish. 

"Now, let Sir Edmund rave!" he said to him- 
self. "This oak will keep its secret." And so the 
oak did. It became known as "The Charter Oak." 
It stood the storms of many winters, and was 
pointed out, for one hundred and sixty-nine years 
afterwards, as the place of refuge of the Connecti- 
cut charter. A tempest felled it to the ground in 
1856. 

As for Andros, he assumed control of Connecti- 
cut, charter or no charter, and ruled for a short 
while with an iron hand. The next year, however, 
the royal tyrant of England was driven from his 
throne, and Andros lost his power. He was thrown 
into prison in Boston, and shipped back to Eng- 
land. Then the precious charter was brought out 



72 AIVIERICA FIRST 



of its hiding-place by Wadsworth and a few others, 
who knew where it was, and Connecticut agam had 
her rights and hberty. 



BLOODY MARSH 

When Georgia was settled by an English colony 
under Oglethorpe, and the town of Savannah was 
begun, the enterprise was met with protest from 
the Spaniards in Florida, because Spain claimed all 
the territory of America, clear to the iVrctic Ocean. 
She had founded only one colony, that of St. 
Augustine, in Florida, but still she claimed the 
whole land. 

Ten years after Georgia was settled, the Span- 
iards resolved to wipe out the colony, then march 
to Charleston, and so on as far north as possible. 
We shall see that they did not get very far. 

A great fleet of thirty-six ships, with five thou- 
sand men on board, appeared off the coast of St. 
Simon's Island in Georgia. The Spaniards raised 
the red flag of war and landed their troops on the 
southern end of the island. Oglethorpe had hastily 
collected all the men he could, but at best he had 
only six hundred and fifty to oppose the great 
army confronting him. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 73 

Oglethorpe posted his scouts, and awaited the 
coming of the Spanish forces. He was determined 
to make his Httle army check the advance of the 
enemy as long as he could. One day a scout came 
into camp, and announced that the Spaniards were 
within two miles of Oglethorpe's camp. The Gen- 
eral hastily called for a body of his own troops, 
skirted through the woods, and fell upon the 
advance forces with such fury that they were 
nearly all killed or captured. Oglethorpe took two 
prisoners with his own hands. 

"That is a good beginning," he said to one of 
his captains. "Now for the rest, before they can 
rally. We will lie in ambush for them." And so 
he did, along the road by which the Spaniards had 
to march. 

Before long the enemy came in sight, halted in 
the defile where the ambush was, and stacked their 
guns. Some began to cook, while others lay down 
to rest, for it was July and the day was very hot. 
One of their horses noticed a strange uniform in 
the bushes, and by rearing and pitching gave the 
alarm. The Spaniards sprang to their guns, but it 
was too late. A deadly fire poured into them from 
an unseen foe, — how many or how few they did 
not know! They fled in all directions, but were 
met by the bayonet of the English soldier and the 



74 AMERICA FIRST 



scalping knife of the Indian. The ground was 
covered with their dead. Because of this victory 
and the great slaughter of the Spaniards, the place 
has ever since been called *' Bloody Marsh." 

The defeat drove back the advance force, but 
there was still the main body to be accounted for. 
Oglethorpe resolved to surprise it by night. He 
knew these soldiers were not accustomed to Indian 
warfare, or to fighting in the tangled forests, and 
he was trying to demoralize them with fear before 
they could attack his small army. 

He advanced within a mile of their camp, late in 
the night, and w^as making ready to attack, when 
one of his soldiers, a Frenchman, fired off his gun 
and ran into the Spanish lines. He w^as a deserter, 
and had fled to the enemy to give the alarm. 
Oglethorpe hastily retreated to save his little army. 

He knew the deserter would tell the enemy of 
his real strength, and he at once devised a plan 
to thwart this purpose. He WTote a letter in 
French, urging this man by all means to persuade 
the Spaniards to attack, to speak of the smallness 
of his forces and the exposure of his position. He 
must not, however, mention the reinforcements 
which had arrived, but must induce the Spaniards 
to stay on the island so Oglethorpe could attack 
them in a few days. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 75 

Of course this was a decoy letter. He handed it 
to a Spanish prisoner, and said to him, "Take this 
letter to the man whose name is on it. He is a 
friend of mine in the Spanish camp. Say nothing 
about it to any one, and I will give you your 
liberty." 

The man agreed, was handed the letter, and was 
set free. The deserter put the paper in his pocket, 
where it was found by the Spanish Commander, 
when he ordered the deserter examined. The Com- 
mander read the letter with alarm, and was at a 
loss to know what to do. He called a council of 
his officers and laid the facts before them He 
said, *'This deserter is a spy in our camp, and this 
letter is the opposite of the truth. I believe the 
English are on us in great force." Thereupon he 
ordered his great army to get on their ships and 
sail away. It was a very cowardly thing to do, 
but the Spaniards were not very anxious to fight 
any way, and, besides, they were frightened at 
what might happen. 

Thus did General Oglethorpe, with a few hun- 
dred men, outwit a force nearly ten times as large 
as his, and save the southern colonies from inva- 
sion by the Spaniards. 



7(5 AMERICA FIRST 



THE SAVING OF HADLEY 

King Philip's War was raging. Hundreds of the 
people of New England had fallen victims to the 
fury of the savages. Wliole villages had perished, 
their inhabitants being slain or carried away as 
captives. The country was in a state of terror, 
for Philip was a ruthless foe, and the war-whoop 
of his followers meant death by tomahawk or 
fire-brand. 

The whites were ever on the lookout. The 
farmer took his gun with him to the fields, and 
listened always for the sound of alarm from his 
cabin. The churches were guarded like forts, and 
men prayed with musket in hand. By night the 
villages slept with a watch posted at every avenue 
of approach. Despite all this, the dusky savage 
glided upon his foe undetected, and generally left 
behind him a havoc of smoking ruins and dead 
bodies. 

Hadley, Massachusetts, was a frontier town at 
this time, 1676. It was on the northwestern edge 
of w^hite settlements, and beyond were the forests 
full of deadly Narragansetts. One day, in the 
midst of summer, the people were gathered at 
church, engaged in divine worship. The hour had 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 77 

been set apart for fasting and prayer, that the 
land might be delivered from the scourge of war- 
fare. As the people prayed, the men clutched their 
muskets and the women cowered in dread. 

Precaution was well taken. In the midst of 
their devotions yells smote upon their ears. The 
Indians had crept through the bushes and, under 
cover of the forests, had passed the guards and 
were upon the people before they knew of their 
danger. The men ceased their prayers and grabbed 
their guns. Hurrying out, they found the foe in 
the streets of the village, filling the air with ter- 
rible cries of ferocious triumph. 

Confusion and terror reigned among the inhabit- 
ants. On all sides the Indians were beginning 
their deadly work. The suddenness of the attack 
prevented the villagers from getting ready with 
their usual vigor, and it seemed that a panic 
would ensue, and everybody would be slain or cap- 
tured. Hadley then would be one more of the 
towTis wuped out by the Indians! 

Just at the critical moment, a strange man ap- 
peared among them. He was tall and stately, 
with long white hair, and dressed in the old- 
fashioned style of England. His face glowed with 
determination, his manner gave confidence, and his 
voice inspired the people to resistance. 



78 AMERICA FIRST 



"Here, get into line and order at once! The 
women and children must retire to the church! 
Come on, men, with me! Ready, march." He 
gave orders in a quick fashion, and the men, with- 
out question, obeyed at once. It seemed to them 
that God had sent an angel to deliver them from 
their trouble. 

Inspired by the thought that God had answered 
the prayers which, only a short while before, they 
had offered up, and firm in the belief that an angel 
led them, they shouted with one voice, "Lead on! 
We follow to the last man." Their shout of de- 
termination matched the war cry of the Narragan- 
setts themselves. 

With remarkable vigor for an aged man, the 
stranger led the attack. The men of Hadley fol- 
lowed closely, and pressed vigorously upon the 
ranks of the Indians. Seeing the sudden vision of 
a white-haired figure in a strange dress, the In- 
dians were dismayed, and began to waver. 

"Make ready! Fire!" cried the leader, and 
raised his stick. The men of Hadley sent volley 
after volley into the terrified enemy, who turned 
and fled to the forest, pursued by the whites until 
they were completely out of sight. They then re- 
turned to the town to thank their savior who had 
led them successfully through this dreadful disaster. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 79 

He was nowhere to be found. He had mys- 
teriously disappeared — even as mysteriously as he 
had come, and from that time on no man in Had- 
ley ever saw him again, except the minister himself, 
the only one in all the town who knew anything 
about him. 

To solve the mystery we must go back to Eng- 
land, to 1649, the year in which Charles I. was 
executed. To his death-warrant there were signed 
the names of fifty-nine judges. After a number of 
years his son, Charles II., mounted the throne and 
swore he would behead everybody w^ho had had 
anything to do with the murder of his father. As 
a result, many of the judges paid the death penalty. 

We have only to do with two of them — Whalley 
and Goffe — who, when they saw the fate that 
awaited them in England, fled to America and 
landed in Boston about thirteen years before the 
incidents occurred which are the chief interest of 
this story. Here they hoped to live in peace. 
But word came that they were wanted in England, 
so they moved to New Haven to escape capture 
at the hands of the King's men. The King had 
sent royal messengers to America to find and 
arrest the regicides, as thej^ were called. He was 
resolved to put them to death. 

These messengers found nothing but trouble in 



80 AMERICA FIRST 



their path. The people, who knew Whalley and 
Goffe very well, would give no information w^hat- 
soever to the King's agents, but passed the two 
judges on from town to tow^n, hiding them in 
cellars or attics, and even in caves in the woods, 
that they might escape. They lived for months, 
sometimes even years, in the houses of friends, and 
only a few^ people would know when they were in 
the village. At one time the royal pursuers passed 
over a bridge, while Whalley and Goffe were lying 
beneath it, only an arm's length from the horses' 
feet! 

Once they dwelt in a cave, their food supplied 
by the people of a neighboring village, when the 
Indians found their retreat. The poor fugitives 
feared the savages would betray them, so they 
hastened to find a new place of shelter. They 
made their way to Hadley, aided by many friends 
and traveling only by night. Here they were re- 
ceived by the minister of the village and given a 
refuge in his house. For twelve years, they lived 
comfortably here, never venturing outside, their 
presence quite unsuspected by the villagers. It 
was not until the Indians attacked the village that 
one of them, Goffe, showed himself, and in the 
manner we have described! 

After the attack was over, the mysterious leader 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 81 

disappeared from view and frora history. What 
became of him and his companion will forever re- 
main one of the mysteries of the romantic period 
in our history when this country was very young. 



SIR WILLIAM PHIPS AND THE 
TREASURE SHIP 

This is the story of a poor boy who lived on a 
miserable plantation on the Kennebec River, in 
New England, yet who ended by becoming a noble- 
man of Old England. His name was William 
Phips, and he had twenty brothers and five sisters. 
In his early life he tended sheep, and learned the 
trade of a ship carpenter. He then went to Bos- 
ton, where he learned to read and write and, later 
on, married a good wife. He settled down to hard 
work, and after ten years became Captain of one 
of the King's ships. Little did he know he was 
about to face the great adventure of his life, as we 
shall see. 

These were the days when Spanish ships were 
seeking silver and gold and precious stones on the 
coast of Peru; when they were carrying their car- 
goes back to the old country, if they were fortu- 
nate enough to escape the pirates! Some of these 



82 AJVIERICA FIRST 



cargoes went to the bottom in storms, or ran foul 
on dangerous reefs. Many were the stories of 
precious wrecks along the shores of the Bahamas. 

On one of his trips to the Bahamas, Phips heard 
of a Spanish wreck "wherein was left a mighty 
treasure" at the bottom of the sea. He made up 
his mind to be the discoverer of that ship and to 
recover that treasure, if it was possible. INIany a 
man would have laughed at the story, or would 
have hesitated over the task; but Phips was not 
like other men. He was born for great adventure, 
and herein he saw his chance. 

Forthwith he sailed for England, and sought the 
wealthy people of the realm. He was a comely 
man, full of honesty and sincerity, and Royalty 
at Court listened to his smooth words with ap- 
parent confidence. For he came back to New 
England, Captain of his King's ship, and with full 
power to search the seas for silver and gold in 
sunken cargoes. 

Phips's task was not an easy one. Fifty years 
had passed since the particular ship of which he 
had heard had sunk; hence the exact spot was 
not easy to find. All that was known was that it 
was somewhere near the Bahamas. But men have 
ventured in search of gold on far less certainty 
than this, and Phips was not one to be dismayed. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 83 

He took his crew to the Bahamas, and began his 
long and discouraging search. He dredged here 
and there; he questioned the old inhabitants along 
every coast; he used every means of information 
and discovery. But without success. 

At length his crew grew mutinous. They wanted 
to turn pirates, and to set sail for the South Seas. 
Accordingly, one day they rose, and marched with 
drawn swords to the Captain, saying, "We will 
have no more of this. Take us to more profitable 
waters under the black flag, or we will heave you 
overboard. We will be pirates henceforth, and will 
not search the bottom of the sea for ships, when 
there are plenty to be found on top of it." 

Phips was aghast at this mutiny, and, besides, 
he was unarmed and helpless. Still he was by far 
the most powerful man on board, and was terrible 
in his wrath. Slowly he approached the ring- 
leader, as if to parley with him. Then, with bare 
hands, he leaped upon him, knocked him down, 
seized his cutlass, and attacked the others with 
fury. So impetuous w^as the onset that in a short 
time the deck was strewn with wounded men, 
while many others fled in dismay, begging mercy 
of the infuriated Captain. 

Soon after the mutiny, Phips sailed back to 
Jamaica in order to get a new crew, more disposed 



84 AMERICA FIRST 



to do as they were told. The treasure-ship must 
be somewhere, and its riches haunted him day and 
night. He sailed to Hispaniola in search of infor- 
mation. He met a very old Spaniard who said he 
knew where the ship was sunk, and who told of 
the spot on a reef of shoals, a few leagues from 
Hispaniola, and not far from Port de la Plata 
which was so named because of a boat-load of 
sailors who landed there with plate saved from the 
sinking vessel. 

This was enough for our hero. He needed more 
men and more money, so he bravely returned to 
England to beg for both. He had a hard time to 
convince any one of his story, but Phips was very 
plausible and the account of how he quelled the 
mutiny on his vessel won him many admirers. 
Such was not an easy task in those days of ad- 
venture. However, it was not long before Captain 
Phips found himself headed for the lost treasure on 
the quarter-deck of a new ship, well manned and 
equipped. 

He reached Port de la Plata in due time. It 
was now about 1685. He set about getting ready 
a great canoe, hollowed out of the trunk of an 
enormous tree. The point selected by him for 
search was a terrible reef, known as "The Boilers," 
where the sea foamed over a sloping reef — no 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 85 

man knew how deep. Phips anchored his ship near 
the perilous spot, made ready his divers and his 
diving-bell, got out the canoe, and set to work 
with a slow and steady resolve to see the under- 
taking through or else perish. 

Days passed in vain search. The weather was 
calm and the ship's supplies were abundant. The 
men did not complain, but dived down, along the 
reef, looking everywhere for signs of a lost vessel. 
One day a boatman, gazing into the clear water, 
saw, growing out of what seemed to be a rock, 
what he thought was a beautiful sea feather, usually 
to be found in sea gardens. So an Indian diver 
went down after it and brought it up in his hands. 

*'That was not a rock, but a great gun you saw," 
said the diver to his companions in the boat. 

"\Miat do you say.^^ Gun! Gun!" they cried. 
"It must be what we are seeking! On board, all 
you divers!" There was intense excitement in the 
canoe. 

Other Indians were sent down, and one of them 
came back with a lump of silver in his hands. It 
was a bar worth a thousand dollars. "I found it 
near the gun. There are other guns and other 
lumps like it, — many, many!" he explained, his 
eyes almost starting from their sockets. 

The sailors roared with joy. At last the place 



86 AMERICA FIRST 



was found! Their search was over! They were 
masters of the silver-ship! Riches untold were in 
their possession! They marked the spot with a 
buoy, and rowed back to the ship to inform Phips 
of w^hat they had found and to show him the bar 
of silver. 

"Thanks be to God, our fortunes are made," 
cried the Captain, and at once repaired with his 
men to the spot marked by the buoy. 

There was no indifference now on the part of 
the crew. Every diver went down and every sailor 
lent a hand. Bar after bar was brought up from 
the ocean's depths, and stored away, as well as 
cases of silver coin, gold in large quantities, to- 
gether with pearls and precious stones. Never was 
there such treasure dug up from the bottom of the 
ocean, where it had lain for half a century. It 
was worth a million and a half dollars. The work 
continued until provisions were exhausted and the 
men were ill. Though the sunken ship held more, 
they had to leave it where it was. Phips sailed to 
England and showed his treasures to the King, and 
to his friends. He was the most honest and gener- 
ous man of his day, and paid his crew liberally. 
He gave his patrons a large share of his fortune, 
and his employees had nought to complain of. 
WTiat remained to him after this still left him a 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 87 

very rich man, and for a time he was the most 
talked of man in England. 

As for the King, he was so well pleased with 
the adventure, and with the admirable manners of 
Phips, that he made the latter a Iviiight, which 
meant that he w^as called "Sir William" from that 
time on. And this is the story of how a plain 
country boy of New England came, through his 
manly qualities and his love of adventure, to belong 
to the aristocracy of England. 



HANNAH DUSTIN 

During the time of King William's War, there 
lived, near Haverhill, Massachusetts, a man named 
Thomas Dustin, and his wife, Hannah. They had 
built a home, and had a small family of children, 
among whom was a little baby. One day, Mr. 
Dustin left his wife and baby in the house, and, 
with his other children, was cutting wood some 
distance away. Possibly he was clearing ground 
for the planting of a new crop, for it was early 
spring, and the weather was good. 

The Indians had not been giving them much 
trouble of late, and Mr. Dustin did not think it 
dangerous to leave his wife and baby with the 



88 • AMERICA FIRST 



nurse for a while. But, alas, the Indians were 
watching him, and, at a favorable moment, burst 
from the forest near by, rushed upon the house, 
slew the little baby and carried Mrs. Dustin and 
the nurse off into the woods! 

Mr. Dustin heard the awful yells of the savages, 
and flew to the rescue of his wife and child. But 
it was too late! The party had been swallowed up 
in the forest, and, as the Indians leave no trail, 
the heart-broken man gave his loved ones up for 
lost. 

For fifteen days the Indians forced Mrs. Dustin 
and the nurse to trudge with them through the 
forest. There was still some snow and ice in 
places, and neither woman w^as clad for such a 
journey. In fact, Mrs. Dustin had but one shoe, 
and traveled over a hundred miles, thus partly 
barefoot. They endured great hardships by day, 
and, at night, were so closely guarded by two In- 
dians that there was no chance of escape. At last, 
they came to a place, now known as Dustin Island, 
where they found other white captives, — two men, 
one woman, and seven children. There was also a 
young boy, who had been held for over a year. 

Mrs. Dustin gathered from what the Indians 
said that it was their intention to make their 
prisoners "run the gauntlet," when they reached 




For fifteen days the Indians required Mrs. Dustin and 
the nurse to trudge with them through the woods.' 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 89 

their final destination. By "running the gauntlet" 
was meant that a prisoner was stripped to the 
waist and made to run between two files of In- 
dians who beat him with clubs and sticks. He 
was indeed fortunate if he reached the end of the 
file alive. 

For many days the party rested where they 
were, presumably waiting for more prisoners. Mrs. 
Dustin talked with the other captives, made friends 
with the Indians, and showed no suspicion of her 
designs, in order to throw them oft' their guard, if 
it could be done. She told the boy to do likewise; 
and he won the favor of a Chief, who explained to 
him how to scalp an enemy. 

Mrs. Dustin now began to plan some definite 
way of escape. Five weeks had passed, and, at 
her suggestion, the prisoners showed no signs of 
trying to get away. In fact, they talked to the 
Indians as if they would like to be adopted into 
the tribe, and live a savage life. Mrs. Dustin 
succeeded in getting a little corn every day and 
hiding it, and she finally found out from the In- 
dians exactly where they were, and in w^hat direc- 
tion lay the white settlements. In the meantime, 
she and the nurse had also learned how to scalp, 
and several sharp knives had been secured by them 
and hidden away. 



90 AMERICA FIRST 



At last a time came when the Indians no longer 
kept guard. They all slept, and sometimes their 
sleep was very deep. Mrs. Diistin often arose and 
went among the braves, to see how wakeful they 
were to sounds. But they slept as if no one was 
near. Then one night arrived, after a hard hunt, 
when the Indians were so tired and had feasted so 
fully that they had fallen into a very deep sleep 
indeed. 

It w^as dark, and all around was still. Mrs. 
Dustin gently shook the boy and the nurse, who 
arose with tomahawks and knives in hand. Each 
selected three Indians, and Mrs. Dustin took four. 
Slowly they crept, by the dim light of the camp 
fire, close to the sleeping savages. Knife after 
knife descended with unerring aim, and the toma- 
hawk struck its deadly blow quickly and surely, 
until ten Indians lay dead. Not a soul was left 
of them, except one old Indian woman and a boy 
of eleven, who escaped in the dark. 

Mrs. Dustin and her companions freshly lighted 
the fire, and by the glow scalped all the dead 
Indians. Then they made their way to the canoes 
on the shore, and, scuttling the boats except those 
they needed, they took the guns, ammunition and 
food belonging to the Indians, as well as the food 
they had hidden, and started down the river. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 91 

Day after day they paddled, pausing at night to 
rest. Cautiously they built small fires to cook 
their much-needed food. While they slept, one 
was always left awake and on guard. After a 
while, the party reached home, and there was great 
rejoicing, for they had long since been given up as 
dead. 

The General Assembly of Massachusetts voted 
Mrs. Dustin a large sum of money, and the Gov- 
ernor of Maryland sent her a silver tankard which, 
to this very day, is preserved with much pride by 
her descendants. 



ISRAEL PUTNAM CAPTURES THE WOLF 

Long before the Revolutionary War, Israel Put- 
nam was a farmer in Connecticut. He was very 
busy building houses and barns, felling trees, mak- 
ing fences, sowing grain, planting orchards, and 
taking care of his stock. We may be sure he had 
all the worries of the farmer of to-day, but, in ad- 
dition, the wolves came and killed his sheep. In 
one night he lost seventy-five sheep and goats, 
killed by an old she-wolf which, for several years, 
had \\TOUght havoc among the cattle of the 
neighborhood. 



92 AMERICA FIRST 



Putnam and five of his neighbors resolved to 
hunt down the wolf, and put an end to her depre- 
dations. This particular beast was known to have 
lost the toes from one foot in a steel trap; there- 
fore, her tracks in the snow were easily recognized. 
The men and the dogs started in pursuit one day, 
tracking the wolf to a den about three miles from 
Putnam's house. She was a vicious old beast, 
cunning and fierce, and even the dogs were afraid 
to follow her into her hiding-place. 

The people from nearby came with fire, straw, 
sulphur, and everything else they could think of, 
to smoke the wolf out; and their guns were held 
ready to fire when she appeared at the mouth of 
the den. The dogs were at last sent into the cave, 
but they clambered out, wounded and howling, and 
could not be persuaded to go back. Blazing straw 
and wood had no effect. The wolf refused to be 
driven out, either by the dogs or by the smoke of 
the fire. 

Putnam proposed to his negro servant that he 
should go down after the wolf; but the negro flatly 
refused. Whereupon Putnam declared that he 
would go in after the beast himself. His neighbors 
tried to dissuade him from the perilous task, but 
Putnam was man of his word. He took off his 
coat, tied a rope around one foot, so he could be 



. STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 93 

dragged out, seized a firebrand, and crawled into 
the cave. He went in, head foremost, on his hands 
and knees, weaving the torch before him. 

The opening was smaU. Then the cave de- 
scended a depth of fifteen feet, and ran horizontally 
for ten feet more. In no place was it large enough 
for Putnam to stand up; so he slid down the in- 
cline until he reached the bottom. It was very- 
dark and very still. Cautiously crawling along, he 
saw the glaring eyeballs of the wolf at the end of 
the cave. 

He then kicked the rope as a signal to his friends 
that he had met his prey. Thinking he was being 
attacked and in great danger, they pulled on the 
rope so fast that they dragged him out of the cave, 
tearing his shirt, and skinning his back badly. 
Putnam had found the wolf, however, and, after 
rubbing his bruises a little, he loaded his gun, 
lighted a fresh torch, and w^as again low^ered into 
the den. 

When he drew near the old wolf, she gnashed 
her teeth, growled, and, uttering a long and terrible 
howl, sprang at the brave man in front of her. 
Putnam, however, was quick with his gun. By the 
light of the torch he saw the wolf's eyes, and fired 
as she sprang. Again his friends dragged him up 
the incline, for they had heard the howl of the 



94 AMERICA FIRST 



wolf and the report of the gun. After the smoke 
cleared away, Putnam went down the third time, 
and, when he came near, the wolf lay very still. 
He put the lighted torch to her nose, but she did 
not move. He knew then that she was dead. He 
kicked the rope, and the people outside for the 
last time drew Putnam out, holding on to the great 
body of his prize. 



A YOUNG SURVEYOR 

When Washington was a boy, there lived in Vir- 
ginia an old English nobleman, by the name of 
Lord Fairfax. He had come into possession of a 
large tract of land, but was by no means sure of 
its extent and boundaries. 

The grandfather of Lord Fairfax, the famous 
Lord Culpepper, had, at one time, been Governor 
of Virginia. TOien he went back to England, he 
asked the King, Charles II, to give him all the 
land between the Potomac and Rappahannock 
Rivers, w^hich the King, in his easy-going way, 
readily consented to do. It was a large and valu- 
able estate, with but few settlers on it. Lord Cul- 
pepper, however, did not trouble himself much 
about it, and never came back to Virginia to see it. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 95 

When the old Governor died, this land descended 
to his daughter, and from her to Lord Fairfax. 
The latter was a fashionable young nobleman in 
London society; so he sent his cousin, William 
Fairfax, to look after his great estate in the wilder- 
ness of America, not caring a great deal at that 
time w^hat became of it. 

Now, it happened that Lord Fairfax fell in love 
with a beautiful young lady, and the two became 
engaged to be married. But she proved faithless 
to her promise, and, when a nobleman of higher 
rank presented himself, she promptly threw Lord 
Fairfax aside. This was a bitter blow to him, and 
he was so distressed and mortified that he deter- 
mmed never to marry anyone, but to move to 
America and live on his Virginia estate. 

So he came across seas, and, with his cousin, 
dwelt in his fine mansion at Belvoir, not far from 
the Washington estate at Mount Vernon. Here he 
became a middle-aged man, tall, gaunt, and near- 
sighted, spending much of his time in hunting, of 
which he was very fond. His favorite companion 
on these hunting trips was young George Wash- 
ington, who was a very active boy, fond of all out- 
door life. 

Lord Fairfax was so much attached to AA'ash- 
ington that he decided to employ him as a surveyor 



96 AMERICA FIRST 



for his great estate. George had studied survey- 
ing, and was anxious to undertake the work. The 
old man and the young boy, now sixteen years of 
age, talked the matter over carefully, and every- 
thing was made ready for the great survey. 

Lord Fairfax's estate was large, his "grant" 
stretching between the Potomac and Rappahan- 
nock Rivers, and crossing the Blue Ridge moun- 
tains into the valley beyond. It was all wild 
country, with only a few settlers here and there, 
with scattered Indian villages and wild beasts. 
But it had to be surveyed and measured, and 
maps had to be drawn before any part of it could 
be sold. To make this survey and these maps was 
the task assigned to George Washington, the young 
surveyor. 

It was in the early spring of 1748, that George 
Washington and George Wilham Fairfax, son of 
the Master of Belvoir, armed with good guns, 
mounted on sturdy horses, and fully equipped with 
surveying instruments, started on their trip into 
the wilderness. The country in which they found 
themselves was beautiful. Lofty trees, broad grassy 
slopes, sparkling streams, and giant mountains lent 
variety and interest to their work. Spring was 
just beginning, and the birds, the early flowers, 
and the fresh sunshine made life very happy for 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 97 

the two boys entering upon their summer's excur- 
sion into the woods. 

Their course led them up the banks of the Shen- 
andoah, where they measured and marked the land 
as they went, and mapped down its leading fea- 
tures. At night they found shelter in the rude 
cabin of some settler, or, if none was near, they 
built a fire in the woods, cooked the game they 
had killed, and lay down upon the ground to sleep. 
Thus they went on, day by day, till they came to 
the place where the Shenandoah flows into the 
Potomac. Then up the Potomac and across the 
mountains to a place called Berkeley Springs. 

The two boys had no serious adventures. They 
met one band of Indians, about thirty in number, 
painted and armed for war; but these paid no 
attention to the two surveyors and offered them 
no harm. At times life in the woods was hard; 
rains often soaked them, and the dampness pre- 
vented them from building a fire for cooking; it 
was also difficult to get warm in the chill nights 
of the mountains. They slept mostly in the open 
air, ^^Tapped up in their great coats, and lying 
upon a bed of leaves or boughs. Often they cooked 
by merely holding bits of meats on sharp sticks 
before the fire; while chips or pieces of bark took 
the place of dishes. But the two boys enjoyed the 



98 AMERICA FIRST 



work heartily. They were never sick and never 
dissatisfied. 

The weeks passed by, and still they measured 
the land, located the marks, and made their maps. 
It was nearing smnmertime when they completed 
their journey, and turned their faces homeward. 
They rode over the mountains, and back to Bel- 
voir, where they made their report to Lord Fair- 
fax. The old nobleman was delighted with what 
they had done, and more than pleased with the 
wonderful estate they had surveyed. 

Lord Fairfax left Belvoir, and made his home 
at Green way Court, which was a hunting lodge he 
had built upon his estate. Here he spent the re- 
mainder of his life, surrounded by the great forests, 
in sound of the running waters, and in sight of the 
tall mountains. Here, an old and feeble man, the 
Revolutionary War found him still alive. When 
he heard of the victory of George Washington at 
Yorktown, he exclaimed, "I knew, when he was a 
lad surveying the wilderness for me, that boy 
would make a great man. Still, I am sorry he did 
not fight for the King instead of against him." 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 99 



THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG 
WASHINGTON 

When Washington was twenty-one years old, he 
was sent by Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, with 
a message to the French Commander in the Ohio 
Valley, directing him to withdraw from that terri- 
tory, since it was claimed as an English possession. 
The place where Washington was to go was about 
five hundred and sixty miles away, through a 
tangled wilderness, beset by Indians and dangers 
of all kinds. 

Washington, with a small party, started, in Octo- 
ber, on his long journey. The winter soon settled 
down on the travelers as they toiled along. The 
snow fell thick and fast, the rain froze, and the 
sleet cut their faces like knives. Still, they were 
all strong young men, capable of enduring great 
hardship, and they bravely pursued their way. 

When they reached the French settlement, they 
found the officer in charge busily engaged, prepar- 
ing his fort. Washington delivered the letter from 
Governor Dinwiddie. The French Commander po- 
litely replied that he was a soldier, acting under 
orders, and that it was his purpose to stay where 
he was, until the Governor of Canada directed him 



100 AMERICA FIRST 



to move. He wrote a letter to Governor Din- 
widdle to this effect, and handed it to Washing- 
ton; after which he treated the party with much 
consideration and kindness, mitil they were ready 
to depart. 

Our story mainly deals with his return journey. 
It was now the dead of winter, and very cold. 
The long pathless forest, the steep mountains, the 
swollen streams, the treacherous savages, hunger 
and cold, lay before Washington; but, with a few 
faithful Indian guides and a companion, named 
Gist, he prepared to start on his perilous way. 
The French were polite to the very last. They 
stocked his canoes with provisions, and gave him 
everything he needed for his journey. 

But Washington found the snow falling so fast 
that he sent a few men with the horses and bag- 
gage through the forest, while he took his own 
small party in canoes down the river. The way 
was most difficult. The channel was obstructed 
by rocks and drifting logs. Shallows and danger- 
ous currents abounded. 

"Many times," wrote Washington, "all hands 
were obliged to get out and remain in the water 
half an hour or more, while taking their canoes 
across the shoals. At one place, the ice had 
lodged and made it impassable by water; so we 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 101 

were forced to carry our canoe across a neck of 
land the distance of a quarter of a mile." 

In six days they went one hundred and thirty 
miles, on a half frozen river, in frail canoes, to the 
place where they had planned to meet their horses 
and baggage. When they arrived, they found the 
outfit in a very pitiable plight. 

Under these conditions Washington and Gist 
determined to proceed alone on foot, leaving the 
others to follow. With his gun on his shoulders, 
his knapsack on his back, and a stout staff to 
steady his feet, the brave adventurer started, fol- 
lowed by his faithful companion, similarly equipped. 
Leaving the regular path, they struck a straight 
course, by the compass, through the woods. 

The journey was full of excitement. An Indian 
at one place met them and agreed to show them 
the way. At the end of the first day, Washington 
grew very weary and foot-sore with the heavy 
traveling. The Indian, who had carried his knap- 
sack, now offered to carry his gun also. This 
Washington refused, and the Indian fell back a few 
paces, his face scowling. They had proceeded a 
few miles further on when the Indian, who had 
dropped behind, suddenly stopped. 

Washington and Gist looked back and saw the 
treacherous savage aiming his gun at them. With 



102 AMERICA FIRST 



a cry of alarm they both leaped aside, just as the 
weapon was fired, thereby escaping injury. But it 
was a narrow escape, and Gist was angiy at this 
treatment; so he ran in pursuit of the Indian, who 
had taken refuge behind a tree. He seized him by 
the throat and was on the point of thrusting his 
knife into him, when Washington called out, 
"Don't kill him. It will do no good, and will 
only sound an alarm to bring other savages down 
upon us. Bind him, and have him go with us." 

Gist accordingly bound the Indian and ordered 
him to walk ahead of the party for a day or more. 
Then Washington released him, and bade him be- 
gone to his home in the woods. The following 
night they reached the Allegheny River, where 
they were destined to meet with a most dangerous 
experience. 

They had hoped to cross on the ice, but the 
river was not frozen hard enough; so they lay 
down on a bed of snow, and covered themselves 
up in their blankets, expecting that, by morning, 
the thick ice would be formed. But on rising, 
they saw, at a glance, that the ice was not yet to 
be trusted. 

"We will make a raft, and rely on our good for- 
tune to get us safely over," said Washington. 
Whereupon he and Gist began to cut down trees 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 103 

with their one small hatchet, and to bind the logs 
together with vines. It took a whole day to com- 
plete the raft, but, not caring to spend another 
night in the same place, they immediately launched 
their frail craft, and put out from the shore. 

Before they had gone half across, the raft was 
jammed in the floating ice, so that it seemed as if 
they would be thrown into the water at any mo- 
ment. Washington tried to hold the raft with his 
pole, in order to prevent it from drifting down 
stream. The result was most disastrous. The 
strength of the current was so great that Wash- 
ington, powerful as he was, was jerked violently 
from the raft, and thrown into the icy current. 

It was a dangerous moment for the future leader 
of the Revolutionary armies of America. By 
heroic effort, he breasted the cold water, pushed 
aside the floating ice, and caught hold of one end 
of the raft. Here, Gist assisted him to regain his 
place, dripping and shivering. 

They had to abandon the raft and seek shelter 
on an island. All night long, without fire and 
food, his wet clothes freezing to his body, Wash- 
ington waited for the hours to pass till morning. 
He kept alive by stamping his feet and beating 
his arms. When day dawned, the river was frozen 
over, thick and solid, and our two adventurers 



104 AMERICA FIRST 



hastened to cross to the other side. Gist had his 
face and fingers frozen, but Washington escaped 
injury. They reached a trading-post where, after 
several days, they were completely recovered and 
ready to resume their journey. 

The remaining portion of the trip was without 
adventure, though it was not without hardship. 
In due time, Washington reached the capital of 
Virginia and delivered to the Governor the answer 
of the French Commander. He had been absent 
eleven weeks and had traveled over a thousand 
miles. 



HOW THE INDIANS TREATED IVIAJOR 

PUTNAM 

It was during the French and Indian w^ar, in 
the month of August, 1758, that Major Israel Put- 
nam and a body of Patriots pursued a straggling 
party of the enemy, in the hope of capturing some 
of them. But, as Putnam was discovered by the 
French scouts, he feared an attack in force, and 
thought it best to return to headquarters. 

The route was a difficult one, and the Patriots 
w^ere proceeding with caution, when one of the 
officers foolishly fired his pistol at a mark, thereby 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 105 



betraying their presence to the French and In- 
dians. Molang, the noted French partisan, was 
the leader of the enemy, who, having located Israel 
and his party, laid an ambuscade for their capture. 

Onward through the woods advanced the Pa- 
triots, not suspecting any danger. Hardly had 
they gone a mile, when yells broke forth from the 
bushes on both sides, and a shower of arrows was 
poured into their ranks. Putnam was in the lead, 
and ordered his men to return the fire; at the 
same time he sent back word for the others to 
hasten to the rescue. The fight soon became 
hand-to-hand. The Indians dashed from tree to 
tree, the Patriots engaging them whenever possible. 

Putnam, himself, was met in fierce struggle by a 
gigantic Indian. Putting his gun to the breast of 
the savage, he pulled the trigger, but missed fire. 
At once the Indian dashed the weapon aside, drew 
his tomahawk, and, with the aid of other savages, 
overcame the brave woodsman. Putnam was dis- 
armed and his hands were tied behind him. He 
w^as securely bound to a tree, while his antagonist 
returned to the conflict. 

Fiercely the battle raged around the captive. 
Bullets and arrows flew past him, some of them 
striking the tree to which he was tied, and some 
even piercing his clothing. A young Indian hurled 



106 AMERICA FIRST 



a tomahawk at his head, but the keen weapon 
missed its mark, and buried its edge in the bark. 
A French officer leveled his musket at his breast, 
but it failed to fire; whereupon he struck his cap- 
tive a cruel blow on the jaw. In the end, the 
savages were driven back, but not before thej^ had 
time to unbind their prisoner, and take him with 
them for a death by slow torture. 

After marching a short distance, Putnam was 
deprived of his coat, vest, shoes, and stockings, 
and his shoulders were loaded down with a heavy 
pack. His wrists were tied as tightly as the cords 
could be drawn, and, in this condition, he was made 
to walk through the w^oods until the party came 
to a halt. His hands began to bleed from the 
bands; his feet were swollen and cut, and he was 
in a pitiable condition. He begged the Indians, by 
signs, to knock him on the head, or to end his 
misery by burning him then and there. A French 
officer heard his piteous appeal, ordered his cords 
to be loosed, and the burden removed from his 
back. Shortly afterwards, the Indian who had 
captured him saw the way he was treated, and, 
claiming him a prisoner, gave him moccasins to 
w^ear and seemed kindly disposed to him. But this 
Indian was suddenly obliged to go elsewhere, and 
Putnam was again left to his fate. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 107 

It was the purpose of the savages to burn their 
captive alive. When they reached their camping- 
ground, thej' took him into the forest, removed all 
his clothing, tied him to a stake, and heaped dry 
fuel around him. While doing this, they rent the 
air with the most dreadful yells, describing the tor- 
ture they intended to inflict upon him. When the 
pile was ready, it was set on fire, and the flames 
caught the dry brush quickly. 

By a miracle, a hea\y downpour of rain put the 
fire out, and wet the fuel so thoroughly that it 
would not burn. The Indians yelled with chagrin, 
and waited until the rain was over. In a short 
while, the sky cleared, and again the savages re- 
turned to their cruel sport. By degrees, another 
fire was kindled, and, slowly, its scorching breath 
came nearer and nearer to the agonized prisoner. 
His last moments indeed seemed to have come. 

"For the sake of heaven," cried the unhappy 
victim, "strike me dead and end this torture." 
He gave vent to a terrible cry of pain as the fire 
began to scorch his flesh. The Indians danced and 
yelled with ever-increasing delight; the agony of a 
victim always gave them the keenest pleasure. 

At this moment, a French officer, who had 
heard the noise made by the savages, rushed 
through the bushes, pushed the howling band aside, 



108 AMERICA FIRST 



and began to stamp the fire out. It was INIolang, 
himself, who, though Putnam's bitter foe, would 
never allow his prisoners to be tortured. It took 
but a moment to free the almost fainting Putnam 
from his bonds, and to turn him over to the gi- 
gantic Indian who had first captured him and who 
was far more humane than the others of his tribe. 

The savage regarded Putnam with some feeling 
of consideration. He fed him with soft biscuits, 
and gave him clothing, at the same time taking 
care that he should not escape. The long march 
to Montreal began, for Putnam was but one of 
several hundred prisoners, mostly Indians, on their 
way to the French forts in Canada. On reaching 
Montreal, Putnam was in a frightful condition. 
His clothing was almost gone; he was dirty; his 
beard and hair were long and tangled, his body 
torn by thorns and briers, and his face blood- 
stained and swollen. 

He was such a forlorn object to look at that the 
Indians thought it hardly worth while to keep 
him; so, when the time came to exchange prisoners, 
he was cheerfully released to his friends in New 
England. We, who read histor3% know that Put- 
nam recovered his full strength and was afterwards 
able to give a good account of himself as a daring 



American soldier. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 109 



HOW DETROIT WAS SAVED 

At the close of the French and Indian War, the 
town of Detroit was garrisoned by about three 
hundred men, under command of Major Gladwyn. 
All appearance of conflict was at an end. The In- 
dians seemed to be most friendly, and were allowed 
to approach the fort without interference, for the 
purpose of trade and conference. 

Pontiac, however, a noted Indian Chief, con- 
ceived a plan for capturing the fort, and murder- 
ing the garrison. He approached with a band of 
Indians, and camped a short distance away. He 
sent word to the Governor, Major Gladwyn, that 
he would like to come into the fort to trade and 
to have a talk. The Governor replied that he 
would be glad to have so famous a Chief, and his 
w^arriors, pay him a visit; and he fixed the day 
for their reception. He had no idea that they 
meditated treachery, and was really anxious to 
secure their good-will and friendship. 

The evening before the meeting, an Indian 
woman, who had been employed by Major Glad- 
wyn to make him a pair of moccasins out of elk 
skin, brought them in. They were beautiful, and 
Major Gladwyn was so pleased with them that he 



110 AMERICA FIRST 



thought he would Hke to give them to a friend. He 
therefore told the Indian woman to take the rest 
of the elk skin, and make him another pair. 

He then paid what he owed her, and dismissed 
her. The Avoman went to the door, but no further. 
She held back as if she had something more to say. 
Upon being questioned why she did not hurry 
home, she hesitated a while, and then replied, 
"You have been very good to me. You have 
given me w^ork and have paid me for it. I do not 
want to take away the elk skin, for I may never 
see you again to give you the shoes you want me 
to make." 

The Governor insisted upon knowing why she 
felt this way, and, after much persuasion and 
many promises that no harm should ever befall 
her, she confided to him that Pontiac and his 
band had formed a plot to kill all the garrison, 
during the visit they were about to pay the fol- 
lowing day; after which they planned to plunder 
the town. 

She told the Governor also that the Indians 
had shortened their gun stocks, so as the better 
to conceal them under their blankets. At a given 
signal, they were to rise and fire, first upon the 
Governor himself, and then upon every soldier in 
sight. Other Indians in the town were to be 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 111 

armed likewise, and, at the sound of firing, were 
to begin a general murder and burning. 

This was a terrible story, and the Governor be- 
gan at once to make preparations for thwarting 
the plans of Pontlac and his Indian warriors. He 
sent the woman away, called out all the soldiers, 
and armed them heavily. He gave every man di- 
rections what to do, and told all the traders in 
town to be in readiness to repel any attack. 

About ten o'clock, Pontlac arrived, his warriors 
covered with heavy blankets. The Governor and 
his officers received them cheerfully. Pontlac was 
surprised to see so many soldiers on guard, and 
gathered In the streets. So he asked why It was. 
The Governor replied, "I drill them every day to 
keep them ready for service." Pontlac was dis- 
concerted by the number, but said nothing further= 

He then began his speech of friendship and good- 
will, saying he never Intended to harm the English- 
any more, but always expected to live In peace 
with them. He desired his warriors to have free 
access to Detroit, promising no danger to the 
people. He was about to hand the Governor a 
belt of wampum, which was the signal for attack, 
but Gladwyn turned upon him suddenly, and said, 

"You are a traitor, and are not to be believed; 
see this evidence of your deceit!" He tore aside 



112 AMERICA FIRST 



the Chief's blanket, reveahng the shortened gun 
concealed beneath it. The soldiers thereupon seized 
the blankets of the other warriors, and laid bare all 
the guns ready for their foul design. 

The Indians were thus taken by surprise, and 
gave no signal to their companions outside. The 
Governor told Pontiac that the English had means 
of discovering all their plots, and that everything 
they did was sure to be known at once. He then 
led the much astonished Chief and his band to the 
gates of the fort, and ordered them never again to 
return for trade or conference. He spared their 
lives, but the next time he promised there would 
be no mercy. 

By evening all the Indians had been driven out 
of the town, and the gates were closed and guarded. 
Pontiac never discovered that Detroit was saved 
by the timely w^arning of a grateful woman, but 
ever afterwards he believed that the English had 
a way of knowing whatever plan he made for their 
destruction. 

THE STORY OF ACADIA 

Once upon a time, in a land of the far north, 
which we now call Nova Scotia, there lived a 
company of French people whose ancestors, in 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 113 

generations back, had come from France to make 
their homes in the New World. 

They were very happy and peaceful, for they 
were industrious and frugal. In spring and sum- 
mer there were bright flowers and abundance of 
fruits, while autumn brought a bounteous harvest. 
They desired nothing more than to be let alone 
in their homes, to pursue their daily labors undis- 
turbed, and, on the Sabbath, to worship God in 
their own way. They called their country Acadia. 

So the dark-eyed children wandered through the 
woods and orchards in the bright sunshine, and 
through the fields when the grain waved, and over 
the meadows where the cows tinkled their bells. 
The fathers of these boys and girls worked in the 
fields or in their shops; and built little houses by 
the side of the streams. Their mothers took care 
of the homes, nursed the babies, and made cloth- 
ing for the winter. 

All day long the colony was very busy. Not a 
soul who could do anything to help was idle; even 
the children, when not in school, and even after 
their hours of play, had their appointed tasks to 
do. At night the families would gather on the 
doorsteps, or in winter by the fires, and tell stories 
of their ancestors who lived in France. 

Because their grandfathers and great-grandfathers 



114 AMERICA FIRST 



had left France to come to America, these people 
still loved the old country, and considered them- 
selves to be French. They spoke French, dressed 
in French manner, and kept up the customs of the 
land in which their forefathers were born. 

Thus, for a hundred and fifty years, lived these 
peasants in the happy valley of Acadia. There 
were about seven thousand of them, and to them 
the world, with its quarrels and wars, its rulers 
and conquests, was of no moment; they cared to 
have no part in it. 

Times of trouble soon loomed up for the Aca- 
dians. The land in which they lived became an 
English possession, and the King of England was 
their lawful ruler. The simple Acadians, ignorant 
of dynasties and kings, and loving only the old 
France of their ancestors, refused to take the oath 
of allegiance to England. 

"We are French people. Our great-grandfathers 
came from France. We speak French, and our 
priests tell us to love the land from which we 
sprang. We cannot forswear our beautiful France," 
they said to the British officers. 

An English Governor was sent to rule over the 
country. The French and Indian W^ar commenced, 
and it was feared the Acadians would send help to 
the French, even though they promised to be neutral. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 115 

"We are French born, and therefore love the 
French people. You say we are now English sub- 
jects by treaty and cession of our land to England. 
Therefore, we pray you to let us be neutral; we 
do not want to enter this war, for we would not 
care to take sides against our King and our people," 
replied the Acadians to their new Governor. 

But the English were not satisfied with this, 
and decided upon the harsh measure of moving all 
the Acadians away from their homes. On the first 
day of June, 1755, a ship sailed into the Bay of 
Fundy, and anchored within a few miles of Beau 
Sejour, the only military post held by French 
troops. 

It took short work to dispose of this fort. In a 
few months the troops were ready to carry out 
the order of the English government. The people 
were again asked if they would take the oath of 
allegiance to the British King, and again they 
said, "No." 

It was now August, and the waving fields of 
grain betokened the industry and thrift of the 
people. The cattle were lowing in the meadows, 
and the orchards were heavy with the ripening 
fruit. The green slopes were dotted with farm- 
houses, from whose chimneys came the curling 
smoke of busy housewives, and around whose 



116 AMERICA FIRST 



doors grew bright autumn flowers nodding to the 
laughter of Httle children. 

A body of English troops encamped in the village 
of Grand Pre. An order was issued for all the men 
to gather at the church on a certain day, in order 
to hear a decree of the King. The bayonets of the 
soldiers showed plainly that the men had to obey. 

Clad in homespun, wholly unarmed, and inno- 
cent of impending misfortune, the men came, at 
the sounding of the bell and the beating of the 
drums. Without, in the churchyard, were the 
women, sitting or standing among the graves of 
their dead. 

Then there arrived the guard from the ship, and 
the soldiers entered the church. The door was 
closed, and the men waited in silence to hear the 
will of the King. 

The Commander arose, and held up a paper 
bearing the royal seal. Then he spoke: *'You are 
convened by his Majesty's orders to be told that 
all your lands, dwellings, and cattle of all kinds 
are forfeited to the Crown, and that you your- 
selves are to be transported from this Province to 
other lands. Even now you are prisoners." 

The men listened to the voice of the Commander 
as if they did not hear him. They were silent for 
a moment in speechless wonder. Then, when they 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 117 

understood the awful meaning of the order, louder 
and louder grew their wails of anger and sorrow. 
They rushed, with one impulse, to the door, but 
in vain; for the soldiers had barred the entrance 
and held it with their bayonets. 

One man, a blacksmith, rose, with his arms up- 
lifted and with his face flushed with passion. 
*'Down with the tyrants of England! We have 
never sworn allegiance. Death to those foreign sol- 
diers, who seize on our homes and our harvests!" 
he cried. But the merciless hand of a soldier 
smote him upon the mouth, and he was dragged 
to the pavement. 

The order was carried out to the letter. In a 
few weeks, the population of the peaceful valley 
was launched upon the sea for unknown shores, 
while the lowing of cattle and the howling of dogs 
were the only sounds heard from the desolate homes 
that once were the scenes of peace and plenty. 

Some of the people escaped to the woods and 
were not captured. The others were scattered 
among the English colonies all the way from Con- 
necticut to Georgia. Many made their way back 
to Canada, while some few returned to their old 
homes in Acadia. A number found their way to 
Louisiana where, on the west bank of the Miss- 
issippi, their descendants may still be found. 



118 AAIERICA FIRST 



BLACKBEARD, THE PIRATE 

In tlie days before the Revolution, the high seas 
surrounding America were infested with robbers, 
called pirates. Their ships, manned by desperate 
men, and carrying cannon and arms for fighting, 
scoured the ocean highways, and attacked peace- 
able and slow sailing vessels, which they robbed of 
merchandise; often they killed the sailors and 
sank the ships. 

These pirates had hiding-places along the coast, 
especially the inlets, where they landed for sup- 
plies, sold their prizes, or buried their treasures in 
secret. A pirate's life was full of adventure. So 
terrible was the menace from these robbers that 
every sailing vessel dreaded to meet them on their 
way across the ocean, or up and down the coast. 

Among these pirates was a Captain whose real 
name was Thatch, but who was known as "Black- 
beard." He wore a long black beard, of which he 
was very careful and proud, but which gave him_ 
a frightful look. Around his shoulders was a strap 
from which huge pistols hung, ready for use in 
case of battle. About his waist was a belt, holding 
his cutlass, which was so large and strong that, 
with one blow, he could cut off a man's head. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 119 

He was very cruel and wicked. He never hesi- 
tated to kill all the sailors on board a captured 
vessel, sometimes hanging them to the rigging, and 
often tying them securely and leaving them on 
their ship as it went to the bottom. Once he shot 
several of his own crew when they disobeyed him 
about a small matter. 

The scene of his operations was around the shores 
of Virginia and North Carolina, and even as far 
south as the coast of Georgia. He had accomplices 
on shore, who bought his ill-gotten cargoes, sup- 
plied his ships with provisions, and his men with 
arms. He became so bold and terrible that the 
people of Virginia fitted out two ships to go after 
him and to destroy him, if they could. 

Only vessels that could sail in shallow water 
near the coast were sent out, and these, under the 
command of Lieutenant ^Nlaynard. For many days 
the ships sailed around, looking for Blackbeard and 
his crew. After a while the pirate ship came into 
view, and hoisted her flag with the skull and cross 
bones, calling on Maynard to surrender. But in- 
stead, Maynard hung out his flag and dared the 
pirate to come on. Blackbeard drew near, and 
called out, "Give up your ship at once, I take no 
prisoners." 

Maynard replied, "I shall not surrender, and I 



120 AlVIERICA FIRST 



shall not show you any mercy." With that the 
battle began. 

Maynard, after sending most of his men into the 
hold of his ship for safety, ran alongside the pirate. 
Blackbeard fired a broadside into Maynard's vessel, 
and, seeing no men aboard, thought that every one 
was killed. He therefore ordered his own crew to 
take possession. When the pirates came aboard, 
swords in hand, Maynard's men sprang from the 
hold of their vessel, and desperate fighting began 
on the deck. 

Blackbeard was shot five times, besides being 
wounded with sword cuts. He fought bravely, 
calling so loudly to his men, that his voice was 
heard above the roar of the battle. His pistol was 
soon emptied, and, seizing another, he leveled it at 
one of Maynard's men. Just then, however, he 
received a wound through the head and was in- 
stantly killed. His men were taken prisoners and 
the battle was ended. 

Maynard hung the pirate's head before the bow 
of his ship, and sailed back to Virginia, where the 
people made a great celebration in honor of his 
victory. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 121 



THE ADVENTURES OF DANIEL BOONE 

Daniel Boone was one of the first settlers in 
Kentucky. He had to fight wild animals and In- 
dians, but he liked it. He loved adventure, and 
went forth to find a home for his family in the 
deep and unbroken forest. He came to Kentucky, 
in June, 1769, with five companions. We will let 
him tell his story in his own words: 

*'We found, everywhere, abundance of wild beasts 
of all sorts through the vast forest. The buffaloes 
were more numerous than cattle in the settlements, 
fearless because ignorant of the violence of man. 
Sometimes we saw hundreds in a drove, and the 
numbers about the salt springs w^ere amazing. 

"As we ascended the brow of a small hill, near 
the Kentucky River, some Indians rushed out of a 
thick cane-brake upon us, and made us prisoners. 
They plundered us of what we had, and kept us 
in confinement seven days. During this time we 
showed no uneasiness or desire to escape, which 
made them less suspicious of us. But, in the dead 
of night, as we lay in a thick cane-brake by a large 
fire, I touched my companion, and gently woke 
him. We improved this favorable opportunity, 
and departed, leaving the Indians to take their rest. 



122 A^IERICA FIRST 



"Soon after tliis, my companion in captivity was 
killed by the savages, and the man that came with 
my brother returned home by himself. We were 
then in a dangerous, helpless situation, exposed 
daily to perils and death among savages and wild 
beasts, not a w^hite man in the country but our- 
selves. One day I took a tour through the coun- 
try, and the beauties of nature I met with expelled 
every gloomy and vexatious thought. I laid me 
down to sleep, and awoke not until the smi had 
chased away night. 

"I returned to my old camp, which was not dis- 
turbed. I did not confine my lodging to it, but 
often slept in the thick cane-brakes to avoid the 
savages, who, I believe, often visited my camp, 
but fortunately in my absence. In this situation 
I was constantly exposed to danger and death. 
In 1772, I returned safe to my old home, and 
found my family in happy circumstances. 

"I sold my farm and what goods we could not 
carry with us, and, in company with five families 
more and forty men that joined us, we proceeded 
on our journey to Kentucky. After two wrecks, the 
rear of our company was attacked by a number of 
Indians, who killed six men and wounded another. 
Of these my eldest son was one who fell in the 
action. This unhappy affair scattered our cattle, 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 123 

and so discouraged the whole company that we 
retreated to the settlement on Clinch River. 

"Within fifteen miles of where Boonesborough 
now stands we were fired upon by Indians, who 
killed two and wounded two of our numbers. 
Although surprised and taken at a disadvantage, 
we stood our ground. Three days later we were 
fired upon again, and two men were killed and 
three were wounded. Afterwards, we proceeded to 
the Kentucky River without opposition, and began 
to erect the fort at Boonesborough, at a salt lick, 
about sixty yards from the river on the south side. 

*'In July three girls, one of them my daughter, 
were taken prisoners near the fort. I pursued the 
Indians with only eight men, overtook them, killed 
two of the party, and recovered the girls. Shortly 
afterwards, a party of about two hundred Indians 
attacked Boonesborough. They besieged us forty- 
eight hours, during which time seven of them were 
killed. At last, finding themselves not likely to 
prevail, they raised the siege and departed. 

"In October, a party of Indians made an excur- 
sion into the district called the Crab Orchard, and 
one of them, who was advanced some distance be- 
fore the others, boldly entered the house of a poor, 
defenseless family, in which was only a negro man, 
a woman, and her children. The savage attempted 



124 AMERICA FIRST 



to capture the negro, who happily proved too 
strong for him and threw him on the ground; in 
the struggle, the mother of the children drew an 
ax from a corner of the cottage, and cut his head 
off, while her daughter shut the door. 

"The other savages appeared, and applied their 
tomahaw^ks to the door. An old rusty gun -barrel, 
without a lock, lay in the corner; this the mother 
put through a small crevice in the door, perceiving 
which the Indians fled. In the meantime, the 
alarm spread through the neighborhood. The 
armed men collected, and pursued the savages into 
the wilderness. From that time the Indians did us 
no mischief. 

"I can now confess that I have proved true the 
saying of an old Indian, who, on signing a deed 
for his land, remarked, 'Brother, w^e have given 
you a fine land, but you will have much trouble 
in settling it.' Many dark and sleepless nights 
have I been the companion of owls, separated from 
the cheerful society of men, scorched by the sum- 
mer's sun, and pinched by the winter's cold, an 
instrument ordained to settle the wilderness." 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 125 



SUNDAY IN THE COLONIES 

All the Colonists were strict in the observance 
of worship. Sunday was a severe day, and every- 
body had to be on his best behavior. The first 
building used for church purposes was the fort, to 
which every one marched in a body, the men fully 
armed to protect the congregation from the In- 
dians. Before the fort was finished, the people 
worshiped under trees, or in tents, or anywhere 
they could find a place. Many of the earliest 
meeting-houses were log huts, with mud between 
the cracks, and with thatched roofs. 

These early churches had oiled paper in the 
windows. When glass was brought over, it was 
set in by nails, for there was no putty. Neither 
was there any paint, so the outside of every house 
was left to turn gray with the weather, or to be- 
come moss-covered from the dampness of the grove 
in which it were usually placed. 

Rewards were paid for the killing of wolves, and 
any one who brought a wolf's head, nailed it to 
the outside wall of the church, and wrote his 
name under it. You can imagine what a grim 
sight the bloody trophies made. All sorts of notices 
were posted on the church doors, so that everybody 



126 AMERICA FIRST 



might see them — announcements of town meet- 
ings, of proposed marriages, of cattle sales, of rules 
agamst trading with the Indians; in fact the 
church door took the place of the newspaper of to- 
day for spreading the news. It was the only- 
means of advertisement. 

In front of the church stood a row of hitching- 
posts and stepping stones, for nearly everybody 
rode to meeting. On the green, in front or to one 
side, were often placed the pillory, stock, and 
whipping-post. 

There were many ways of calling the people to 
church, such as beating a drum, ringing a bell, 
or blowing a shell. Many of the churches had a 
drummer, who went up and down the streets, or 
else stood in the belfry and drummed. After the 
signal was given, a man went the rounds of the 
village, and looked in all the houses, to see that 
everybody who was able had gone to church. Woe 
betide the man who was late, or the boy who had 
skipped away to the woods! 

The inside of a Colonial church was simple 
enough. Overhead, the rafters usually opened to 
the thatch or clapboard roof; the floors were of 
earth, or rough boards; and the pews or benches 
had straight backs and were hard. The pulpit 
was usually a high desk, reached by a staircase or 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 127 

ladder, with a sounding board over it. There was 
no heat in these early churches, for a heating stove 
was unknown. The chill of the building, — dark 
and closed all the week, and damp from the 
shadowed grove, — was hard for every one to stand. 
To keep from suffering during the long service, the 
women put their feet in bags, made of fur and 
filled with wool. Dogs were allowed so that their 
masters might put their feet under them. In fact, 
churches appointed dog whippers to control the 
dogs or to drive them out if they became noisy 
and unbearable. Some of the women and children 
had foot stoves, which were little metal boxes on 
legs, with small holes in the top and sides, and 
with hot coals inside. 

The services were very long, no matter how cold 
it was. The snow might be falling and the wind 
blowing, but the people had to wrap up in their 
furs, snuggle down in the benches, and listen to a 
sermon two or three hours long. Sometimes a 
single prayer lasted an hour, while the people 
knelt on the bare floor. When a church was dedi- 
cated, the sermon generally lasted three or four 
hours. We might well wonder what the preacher 
could find to say, that it took so long a time to 
say it! 

There was a tithing-man, whose duty it was to 



128 AMERICA FIRST 



maintain order, and also to keep everybody awake. 
The men sat on one side of the church, the women 
sat on the other, while the boys and girls were 
made to sit near the pulpit. Up in the loft were 
places for the negroes and the Indians. The tith- 
ing-man kept close watch for sleepers. He had a 
long stick, with a rabbit's foot on one end and a 
rabbit's tail on the other. If a man nodded, or a 
boy made a noise, the tithing-man struck him a 
sharp blow on the head. If an old lady closed 
her eyes, the tithing-man gently tickled her nose 
with the rabbit's tail. He was generally kept 
pretty busy toward the end of a long sermon! 

During the noon intermission, in the winter 
time, the half frozen congregation went to the 
nearest house or tavern to get warm, and to eat a 
simple Sunday meal. In summertime, they sat on 
the green and talked in low, solemn tones. After 
two hours' intermission, the congregation assembled 
again, and the dreary service was resumed. The 
singing was very doleful. There were few books, 
so the deacon or leader gave out the hymn, a line 
or two at a time. Often, the singing of these 
psalms or hymns lasted a half-hour, during which 
the people stood. Altogether, we can easily see 
that a Sunday service, morning and afternoon, 
would last seven hours. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 129 

In all the Colonies, Sunday was strictly ob- 
served. Any unseemly conduct was punished by 
whipping or by fire. It was forbidden to fish, 
shoot, sail, row a boat, or do any kind of work 
on that day. Horses were used only to drive or 
ride to church. There was little or no cooking, 
but everybody ate cold food on the Lord's Day. 
No one was allowed to use tobacco near any meet- 
ing-house. The Sabbath began at sunset, on Satur- 
day, and lasted until sunset, on Sunday. 

After the Colonists grew better off, they built 
larger and better churches, sometimes of stone, or 
brick, and often beautiful in their stately architec- 
ture. Many of these churches are preserved at the 
present day, with their high pulpits, and their big, 
stiff back benches, or box pews, for the whole 
family. In all of them, however, the same severity 
of worship was observed, for it was thought thereby 
to make a God-fearing and God-serving people. 



THE SALEM WITCHES 

In olden times nearly everybody believed in 
witches. These witches were supposed to have 
sold their souls to the devil, and to have received 
from him power to ride through the air on broom- 



130 AMERICA FIRST 



sticks. With "the evil eye," they could make 
people ill, they could destroy cattle by mysterious 
diseases, they could blight the crops, and do other 
impossible and dreadful things. They were sup- 
posed to have meetings at night, when the devil 
came and they received the witches' sacrament. 
Consequently, everybody was afraid of a witch, 
and nobody wanted to be called one. 

The witches were blamed for everything that 
went wrong. If children fell suddenly ill, if a 
horse became lame, if a house burned down, if the 
butter would not churn, if the cart stuck in the 
mud, the explanation always was, "A witch did 
it. 

Generally, women, or old men, or ugly, deformed 
persons were accused of being witches; but some- 
times suspicion fastened upon younger persons, 
and even upon those in high authority. To test 
whether a person was a witch or not, pins were 
stuck into the body to find a place where it did 
not hurt. These were spots where the devil's 
hands had touched the witch. Another test was 
by water. The supposed witch was thrown into 
the water; if she sank and was drowned, she was 
innocent; if she floated, she was assuredly a witch 
and must be burned. 

The belief in witchcraft and in the punishing 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 131 



of witches was nowhere stronger than in Salem, 
Massachusetts. The least suspicious circumstance 
was sufficient for an accusation. A young girl, 
thirteen years of age, accused a laundress of hav- 
ing stolen linen from the family. The mother of 
the laundress rebuked the girl severely for this 
false charge. The girl became immediately be- 
witched, or said she w^as, which amounted to the 
same thing. Others in her family began to act 
strangely. Some grew deaf, then dumb, then blind. 
They barked like dogs and purred like cats if any- 
body came near. 

The town went wild with excitement over the 
bewitched family. The poor mother of the laun- 
dress, who was nothing but a harmless and illiter- 
ate old woman, and who had tried to defend her 
daughter from the charge of stealing linen, was 
accused of being a witch. She was tried, con- 
victed, and executed. 

Shortly afterwards, the child of the minister, 
nine years old, and his niece, twelve years old, 
began to act queerly and to suffer great pains. 
There was nothing the matter with them that a 
little medicine would not have cured, but they 
chose to think themselves bewitched. A half-breed 
Indian woman, a servant in the house, was also 
accused, and, being w^hipped, she tried to secure 



132 AIVIERICA FIRST 



her release by confessing that she was really a 
witch. Of course she was not, but the poor 
creature would say anything to save herself from 
torture. The two children were the two most con- 
spicuous figures in the village; they had "fits" and 
everybody came to the house to see them. They 
were generally accommodating to all beholders! 

An epidemic of witches now broke out in the 
village. Any one who desired notoriety, or who 
wished to wreak vengeance upon another, would 
fall down in a fit and cry out, "Witch! Witch!" 
The excited town folk would set upon the poor 
accused one, throw him in prison, and often string 
him up on the gallows. 

An old farmer, who did not believe in witches, 
cured his Indian servant by a good beating. "I'll 
flog the witch out of you," he cried; and before 
long the Indian was perfectly well. But this 
brought down the people's wrath upon the old 
farmer. They said, "He is a witch himself, for he 
rebukes the disease in others." And forthwith the 
farmer and his wife found themselves in the com- 
mon jail. 

So It went, until nineteen persons were put to 
death on the accusation of being witches. One poor 
old man, who stoutly maintained that nobody was 
a witch, was pressed to death between two doors! 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 133 

One hundred and fifty people were thrown Into 
prison; so many indeed that the jail was full to 
overflowing. Two hundred and more were ac- 
cused and left outside the jail for lack of room. 
It seemed as though everybody in Salem, sooner 
or later, would have to stand trial for being a 
witch. 

At last, when they began to accuse persons of 
high rank, such as one of the Judges, the wife of 
the Governor, and the wife of the minister himself, 
it brought the people to their senses. Suddenly it 
occurred to them what fools they had been. Then 
the jails were opened, and the poor people inside 
were set free, and allowed to go about their busi- 
ness. The children who pretended they were under 
a spell were punished; and soon there was nobody 
under accusation. 

Since then, no one has really believed in witches. 
There never was, nor ever can be, such evil beings, 
and the people in Salem would have been spared 
much folly and misery if they had known it. In 
Salem, there stands to this day one of the old 
houses, and it is pointed out as "The Witch 
House." 



134 AMERICA FIRST 



TRAVELING BY STAGE-COACH 

In early Colonial days, the pioneers had to walk 
or go by canoe from one village or settlement to 
another. Later on, the trails were improved to the 
extent that horses could be used; and for a long 
time this was the only means of travel. Women 
and children usually rode on a pillion, or on 
cushions behind a man. Sometimes pack horses 
followed, carrying the household goods, or provi- 
sions for the journey. 

One way by which four persons could ride, at 
least part of the distance, was known as the "ride- 
and-tie system." Two of the four persons started 
ahead on foot. The other two, mounted on the 
saddle and pillion, rode about a mile past the two 
who were walking, dismounted, tied the horse and 
walked on. When the two, who had first started, 
came to the waiting horse, they mounted, rode on 
past the walking two ahead of them for a mile or 
more, dismounted, tied the horse and again pro- 
ceeded to walk. In this way, all four rode half 
the distance, and the horse had a rest every few 
miles. 

The mail, what there was of it, was carried by 
post-riders on horseback. The postage was very 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 135 

high, and was paid for by the person receiving the 
letter, — if he ever received it ! It took about a 
month to send a letter from New York to Boston, 
and to get a reply. The mail generally lay in the 
post-rider's house till he had enough to pay for 
the trip. When the mail was delivered, it was laid 
on the table at an inn, and any one could have his 
letter by paying the innkeeper the postage. 

After the Revolution, the roads were widened 
and made better than the old trails. Hence, 
wagons, or stage-coaches, came into use for trans- 
portation. Traveling by stage-coach lasted until 
the time of the railroads, and indeed still later in 
some places in the West. The stage between New 
York and Philadelphia made the trip in two days, 
provided the weather was good. From New York 
to Boston took a week's hard riding. 

A passenger from Boston to New York thus de- 
scribes his journey: 

"The carriages were old and shackling, and much 
of the harness made up of ropes. One pair of 
horses carried us eighteen miles. We generally 
reached our resting place for the night, if no acci- 
dent interfered, at ten o'clock, and, after a frugal 
supper, went to bed, with a notice that we should 
be called at three next morning, which generally 
proved to be half past two. And then, whether 



136 AMERICA FIRST 



it snowed or rained, the traveler must rise and 
make ready, by the help of a lantern and a farth- 
ing candle, and proceed on his way over bad roads, 
sometimes getting out to help the coachman lift 
the coach out of a quagmire or rut, and arrived 
in New York after a week's hard traveling, won- 
dering at the ease, as well as the expedition, with 
which the journey was effected." 

On good days, in the spring and summer, travel 
by stagecoach was not disagreeable. The horses 
were generally good and strong, and the coach 
rattled along fairly well. The driver had a long 
horn which he blew when he approached a stop- 
ping-place, so as to let the people know the stage 
was coming. The stops were frequent, and when 
the coach drove up to a tavern or inn, the passen- 
gers would get out for a meal, or else stretch them- 
selves by taking a short w^alk. 

Some of the turnpikes were beautiful and splen- 
did roads. The way from Albany to Schenectady, 
New York, ran in a straight line, between rows of 
poplars, with many taverns along the route. Re- 
lays of horses were provided every ten miles; teams 
were changed in a few minutes; and with blowing 
of horns the coach would merrily depart. It was 
not at all unusual, over the fine roads, to make 
one hundred miles in twentv-four hours. 




■^^I^,^ /nius WiN-r« 



'All the weather was not Springtime.' 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 137 

But all the roads were not good ones; some of 
them were very bad indeed. And all the weather 
was not spring time! In the dead of winter, over 
a bad road, a stagecoach was anything but pleasant 
to ride in. There was no way of heating it, and 
the passengers had to endure hours of freezing cold, 
with much jolting and hard pulling over bad places. 
Sometimes, the coach stuck hard and fast in the 
mud, when all hands had to get out and pull and 
dig until the wheels were released. 

Sometimes the driver had to call to the passen- 
gers to lean out of the carriage, first on one side 
and then on the other, to prevent it from over- 
turning or sticking in a ditch. "Gentlemen, to the 
right," he would call, upon which all the passen- 
gers would rush to the right and lean out of the 
windows to balance things. "Now, gentlemen, to 
the left," he would say, and the same thing would 
be done on the left side. 

Along the road were inns or taverns for the 
travelers. Here, the weary passengers could take 
their meals, get warm by the fire, and find a bed 
at night. The cooking was good, the food abun- 
dant, and the beds usually comfortable. The charge 
was not high. One can well imagine how welcome 
these wayside taverns were to the cold, hungry, 
and tired folks, when they drove up at dark on a 



138 AMERICA FIRST 



winter's day, to find a blazing fire in the big front 
room with its raftered ceiHngs, a hot supper ready 
on the table, and a warm bed to sleep in. What 
matter if they did have to rise by candle light, 
and be on their way! Nobody traveled for pleas- 
ure, anyway, in those days, and so necessity made 
the hardships endurable. 

Many of these taverns had very curious signs 
hanging outside, with names upon them, such as 
"The Red Horse," "The Bear and Eagle," "The 
Anchor," "The Blue Jay," "The Twin Bogs"; and 
often these signs would be painted to represent the 
name itself. Even the rooms were sometimes 
named, instead of being numbered, as in modern 
hotels. Such names as the "Star Chamber," "Rose 
Room," "Sunrise Room," "Blue Room," and even 
"Jerusalem Room" were common. 

As one journeyed south, the roads were not so 
good and the taverns less frequent; because few 
people traveled by stages in the southern country. 
Those who traveled at all went in their own 
coaches, or by horseback. But there were some 
coaches going over the rough highways, and it was 
the universal custom for the planters to open their 
doors for meals and lodging. Eager for news and 
company they would order their negroes to stand 
at the gates, and to invite the passers-by to come 
into the house to be entertained. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 139 

Gone is the old stage-coach, with its picturesque 
history! Nowadays we speed at the rate of a mile 
a minute over smooth rails, and lay down to sleep 
to find ourselves several hundred miles away when 
we awake in the morning. 



KING GEORGE AND THE COLONIES 

We must not get the idea that the Colonies in 
America were disloyal in their allegiance to the 
mother country. On the contrary, they loved the 
Old England from which their fathers came, and 
looked forward to a happy development under the 
British flag. 

It was not the English people, but the English 
King, George III, who caused all the trouble. He 
had ascended the throne when he was twenty-two 
years of age. He was nearly forty when the Revo- 
lution began. He was obstinate and short-sighted 
in dealing with his subjects. He believed in the 
right of kings to have their own way and to 
him the will of the people counted for nothing 
as aga,inst the will of the King. Whatever 
George III wanted, he proposed to have people or 
no people. Colonies or no Colonies. Kings do not 
act that way nowadays, but then it was different. 



140 AMERICA FIRST 



When he came to the throne his mother said to 
him, "George be a king." She taught him to 
think that he owned his people, and that they 
should always do his will. 

Instead of choosing the wisest and best men in 
the kingdom to be his advisers and ministers, 
George III turned to the weaker men, who flattered 
him and who were ready to do his bidding. It was 
always one of the "King's friends" who proposed 
in Parliament the obnoxious measures against 
America. Finally, the King succeeded in getting a 
Prime Minister, Lord North, who was willing, in 
all things, to do as his sovereign wished. In fact, 
someone has said that, while North was in office, 
"the King was his own Prime Minister." 

In spite of the protest of some really great men 
in England, who knew the Colonists were ill- 
treated, the King went blindly and obstinately to 
work, until the Colonies in America were in com- 
plete revolt. 

To see how poorly the great mass of the people 
of England was represented in their Parliament, we 
should know that, when George III came to the 
throne, there was a most unequal distribution of 
seats in the House of Commons. For two hundred 
years, no changes had been made in the allotment 
of seats according to the number of the population. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 141 

Some very large cities, like Manchester and Shef- 
field, that had grown up in the meantime, had no 
representatives at all, while some very small and 
old places had several representatives. One town, 
named Old Sarum, went on sending members to 
Parliament long after it had ceased to have any 
inhabitants at all. 

The result Avas that many members represented 
only a handful of voters, many seats in Parliament 
were bought and sold, and some were given aw^ay, 
as favors. This made an assembly of representa- 
tives that did not truly represent the great body 
of the people, and it, therefore, became easy for the 
King to secure such laws as he and his friends wanted. 

Was it not natural that a corrupt Parliament 
should do George Ill's own bidding? He united, 
wdth the ruling class, to suppress public opinion in 
England, and self-government in America. He be- 
gan to rule the Colonies by royal orders, and sent 
instructions, over his own signature, to be obeyed 
in America; otherwise, so he threatened, military 
force would be used to make the people obey. 
Colonial assemblies were dissolved, unusual places 
of meeting were appointed, orders were issued, 
lands were granted or taken away, and by many 
other acts the Colonists were treated without 
consideration. 



142 AMERICA FIRST 



But the Colonists had many friends among the 
English people, who sympathized with them in 
their opposition to the tyranny of the King and 
his Parliament. They were still English people and 
English subjects, though their home was across the 
sea, and they had rights that their relatives and 
friends in England thought should be respected. 
So there were many in the old country who believed 
that the Colonists were right to oppose the King; 
some voices in Parliament even spoke out bravely 
in their defense. 

One great Englishman, William Pitt, who was 
the Earl of Chatham, declared in the House of 
Lords, "This kingdom has no right to lay a tax 
upon the Colonies. I rejoice that America has re- 
sisted." After the Revolutionary War had begun, 
and the King had been forced to hire about 20,000 
German troops from the Duke of Brunswick, be- 
cause the English simply would not enlist for this 
unpopular war, Pitt said, in another speech, 

"My Lords, you cannot conquer America. In 
three years' campaign, we have done nothing and 
suffered much. You may swell every expense, ac- 
cumulate every assistance you can buy or borrow, 
traffic and barter with every little pitiful German 
prince, but your efforts are forever vain and im- 
potent, doubly so from this mercenary aid on which 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 143 

you rely, for it irritates to an incurable resentment. 
If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, 
while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I 
would never lay down my arms, — never, never, 
never." 

Wliile the Stamp Act was being debated in Par- 
liament, Colonel Barre, who had fought by the 
side of Wolfe at Quebec, replied to the statement 
that the Colonies were children "planted by our 
care, nourished by our indulgence, and protected 
by our arms," by exclaiming with great eloquence, 

"They planted by your care! No, your oppres- 
sion planted them in America. Nourished by your 
indulgence! They grew up by your neglect of 
them. They protected by your arms! Those sons 
of liberty have nobly taken up arms in your 
defense." 

The expression, "Sons of Liberty," became a 
popular rallying cry of the Patriots in America. 

The quarrel between King George III and the 
American Colonists grew into the Revolutionary 
War. During that War, the Colonists had many 
friends in England, especially in the city of Lon- 
don. As he walked through the streets, William 
Pitt was loudly cheered for the part he took in 
defending the cause of the Colonists. When the 
war was over, many in England were secretly re- 



144 AMERICA FIRST 



joiced that the Colonies were independent, and 
that the will of the fooHsh King was at last 
broken. 



PATRICK HENRY AND THE PARSON'S 

CAUSE 

Among the noted men in the history of the 
struggle of the American Colonies against the 
tyranny of the King of England, none occupies a 
more striking position than Patrick Henry, the 
great orator of Virginia. 

His father was a magistrate, of an old Scotch 
family, whose lack of means kept his son, Patrick, 
from an education in college. However, young 
Henry studied at home, and acquired a fair educa- 
tion. He seemed to be ill-fitted for business of 
any kind. He kept a country store and failed; 
he tried farming and failed; then he went back 
to keeping a store and failed again. He became 
discouraged and idle, and began passing his time 
fishing and hunting and telling humorous stories to 
idle companions around the village inn. 

Finally, he turned to the law. After studying 
for a few weeks, he was examined, and allowed to 
begin practice. It was four years, however, before 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 145 

he gave any evidence to the world that he pos- 
sessed those marvelous powers of oratory that have 
made him famous. 

Now, let us see how Henry won reputation in 
the Parson's Cause. From the beginning, the Colo- 
nists of Virginia were accustomed to pay the 
preacher's salary in tobacco. Each parish minister 
received so much tobacco out of the amount raised 
by the tobacco tax. If the price of tobacco was 
high, the minister had the benefit of the high price. 
If the price was low, he suffered accordingly. For 
a long time the ministers took their chances on the 
tobacco market, and lived in abundance or in 
want, as the market price went up or down. At 
best, however, their salaries were never munificent. 

In the year 1748, an Act was passed, fixing the 
annual salary of each parish minister at 16,000 
pounds of tobacco. This Act was approved by 
the King, and became the law in Virginia. Each 
minister was allotted his tobacco salary, which he 
sold at whatever price he could get. This went on 
for a while, until the Legislature passed another 
Act, paying the minister's salary in paper money, 
at a fixed price per pound for tobacco. This fixed 
price was always lower than the market price, and 
reduced the minister's salary very much. 

The Act was clearly unconstitutional, for it did 



146 AMERICA FIRST 



not have the consent of the King, and, therefore, 
could not be law. Besides, it was manifestly unjust 
to the ministers who were employed under a to- 
bacco contract, and not under a paper money con- 
tract. However, the people did not care, for the 
ministers w^ere unpopular. And as for the King and 
his consent the Colonies were rapidly becoming re- 
bellious of his authority. 

The ministers had to take paper money for their 
salaries, or receive none at all. They complained 
to the Legislature, but could get no hearing. They 
complained to the Governor, but he gave them no 
consolation. They sent some of their own num- 
ber to England to lay the matter before the King's 
Council. There they were told that their cause 
was just, and that they had a right to sue for 
damages in the Courts of Virginia. WTiereupon 
they returned home to begin their suits. 

One of the cases was brought by Rev. James 
Maury into the Court of Hanover County. The 
Judge promptly decided that the Act, paying the 
salaries in paper money, was no law, and that the 
ministers were clearly entitled to damages to be 
fixed by a special jury. The case of the people 
against Maury seemed hopeless, especially as it 
was very easy to calculate the difference between 
the value of the tobacco and the value of the 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 147 

paper money paid. However, a jury was drawn, 
and the desperate cause of the people against the 
clergy was committed to Patrick Henry, then al- 
most unknown as a lawyer and advocate. Indeed, 
no other counsel or lawyer would take the case, as 
they said it was a hopeless one, and the people 
had better pay and be done with it. 

Now comes the story of how the world found 
out the marvelous powders of oratory possessed by 
Patrick Henry. On the day of trial, the court- 
room was crowded with people, the clergy being 
there in force to witness the triumph of one of 
their number. On the bench sat Henry's father, 
the presiding Judge of the trial, who looked with 
much distrust upon the ability of his son to de- 
fend the people's cause. 

No one had heard Henry speak before a jury. 
He was considered an idle young man, of twenty- 
seven years of age, without learning or ability. 
He was badly dressed, and appeared ill at ease. 
AATien he arose to speak, he did so very awkwardly, 
and began in a stammering and hesitating man- 
ner; so much so that the ministers smiled, the 
people looked disappointed, and his father sank 
back in his chair mortified. 

But wait, let us see what happened! In a few 
minutes, the young orator forgot his awkwardness. 



148 AMERICA FIRST 



and ceased his stammering. His form straightened 
up, and his eyes began to flash, as he unrolled his 
invectives against the King, and narrated the 
grievances of the Colonies. He did not hesitate to 
call the King a tyrant, who had forfeited all right 
to obedience. His face began to shine with a 
nobleness and grandeur which no one ever saw 
before, and his eyes seemed to hold the lightning 
of wrath and power. His actions were graceful, 
bold, and commanding. For an hour he spoke, 
while the crowd listened as if under the spell of 
some enchantment. One of them said, "He made 
my blood run cold and my hair stand on end." 
As for his father, such was his surprise and joy 
that. Judge though he was, he allowed tears of 
happiness to run down his cheeks. 

When Henry had finished his great oration, the 
jury was so overwhelmed by his arguments that 
they voted Rev. Maury just one penny damage 
whereas his suit had been for many pounds. In 
this way did Patrick Henry begin that marvelous 
career which made him one of the greatest orators 
this country has ever produced. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 149 



PAUL REVERE'S RIDE 

On the night of April 18, 1775, in a suburb of 
Charlestown, just outside of Boston, stood a strong 
and keen-eyed man beside a restless horse, ready 
at a moment's notice to mount and ride hard upon 
some secret mission. His eye was fixed upon the 
distant steeple of a church, scarcely to be seen in 
the darloiess, as if he expected some signal to make 
him spring into instant action. 

He had not long to wait. Into the night there 
suddenly flashed the rays from two lanterns; as 
soon as he saw them, he grasped the reins of the 
bridle, leaped into the saddle, and rode swiftly 
away. The man's name was Paul Revere. The 
signal was from the steeple of the Old North 
Church, in Boston, and it had been placed there 
by a friendly hand to let Revere know that the 
British troops were moving silently out of Boston 
to capture the mihtary stores which the Patriots 
of the Revolution had at Concord, about nineteen 
miles away. 

Swiftly his horse bore Revere past Charlestown 
Neck. Suddenly two British oflScers appeared in 
his path. 



1.50 ajvierica first 



*'Halt! who goes there?" was the stern command. 

Revere made no answer, but turned his horse's 
head, and went flying back to seek another road. 
The officers started in swift pursuit, calling out, 
"Halt, or w^e fire!" 

Revere paid no attention to them, but, spurring 
his horse onward, turned into Medford Road. 
One of the officers tried to intercept him by a 
short cut across the field, but, in the darkness, he 
fell into a clay-pit, where Revere left him as he 
went thundering by. 

On he went, mile after mile, intent upon arousing 
the people. At every house he stopped, rapped 
furiously on the door, or called out from the road- 
side, "Get up, and arm yourselves. The Regulars 
are marching to Concord!" And then he would 
dash away, leaving the occupants to rise and 
hastily dress themselves. 

The British marched out of Boston about mid- 
night. Just at that hour, Revere rode into Lex- 
ington with a great clatter of hoofs upon the 
streets. He galloped up to the house of the Rev. 
INIr. Clarke, where Samuel Adams and John Han- 
cock, two leading Patriots, were asleep. 

"Don't make so much noise," called out the 
guard in front of the house, "you will awake the 
inmates." 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 151 

"Noise!" exclaimed Revere. "You'll have noise 
enough before long. The Regulars are coming!" 

At that moment, a window was thrown open, 
and John Hancock, looking out, inquired what 
was the matter. Recognizing Revere, he directed 
the guard to open the door, and admit the messen- 
ger, who soon told his startling tale. Hancock and 
Adams quickly dressed, and, while Revere set out 
again on his journey, these two Patriots left Lex- 
ington to avoid capture. 

Revere was now joined by another rider, named 
Dawes, who had left Boston at the same time by 
a different route. Upon these two was put the 
responsibility of arousing the people. From every 
house the good men of the countryside rushed out 
when they heard the news. The Minute Men 
began to gather, with such guns as they had, and 
by two o'clock in the morning over a hundred of 
them had met upon the green in Lexington. As 
no foe was in sight, and as the air was cold, they 
disbanded to assemble again at the sound of the 
drum. 

Meanwhile, Revere and Dawes rode toward Con- 
cord, six miles off. On their w^ay, they fell in with 
Dr. Samuel Prescott, to whom they told their 
story as the three rode along. Suddenly, a group 
of British oflBcers appeared in the road before 



152 AMERICA FIRST 



them, and laid their hands upon Revere and 
Dawes, who were a httle in advance. This oc- 
curred so unexpectedly that escape was impossible 
for those two. But Dr. Prescott urged his horse 
over a stone wall, and w'as well away before he 
could be stopped. He alone bore the news to the 
people of Concord. 

^Mien Prescott arrived, at about two in the 
morning, he at once gave the alarm. The bells 
were rung, and the people rushed toward the center 
square where Dr. Prescott addressed them. 

"The Regulars are on their way to capture the 
stores in the warehouse," he declared. "They may 
now be in Lexington, and it is certain they will be 
here before long. Revere and Dawes brought me 
word. We must remove the stores before the 
British arrive." 

This w^as enough. It did not take the people of 
Concord many hours to put the precious stores in 
a place of safety. 

Meantime, the British had come to the out- 
skirts of Lexington. It was about daybreak, and 
the drum-beat called the Colonists together on the 
village green. There were about one hundred stern 
and determined Patriots, facing five or six himdred 
British troops. The moment was one of intense 
excitement, for both sides knew it meant war if a 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 153 

shot was fired. Captain John Parker, in command 
of the mihtia, said to his men: 

"Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon; 
but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here." 

The British Commander, Major Pitcairn, drew 
his pistol, and, pointing at the Patriots, cried out: 

"Disperse, you villains! Lay down your arms, 
you rebels, and disperse!" 

The Patriots did not move. The British came 
nearer, as if to surround Parker's men. A shot, 
fired from the British line, was answered imme- 
diately by the Patriots. Then Major Pitcairn 
drew his pistol, and discharged it, calling out, 
"Fire." The British then fired upon the Minute 
Men, killing four of them, after which the others 
retreated. This w^as the opening shot of the Revo- 
lution, and we shall see how England paid dearly 
for it. 

The British moved on to Concord, reaching there 
about seven o'clock. They were too late, however, 
for most of the stores had been removed. They 
did what damage they could, by knocking open, 
sixty barrels of flour, injuring three cannon and 
setting fire to the court-house. 

About midday, the British began their retreat. 
The Patriots had gathered in haste from the neigh- 
boring towns, and were preparing to harass the 



154 AMERICA FIRST 



enemy along the road. Concealing themselves be- 
hind houses, barns, roadside walls, and trees, they 
poured a galling fire into the retreating British. 
The Red Coats, as the British were called, began 
to run in order to escape the deadly fire of the 
farmers, with their rifles and shotguns. The six 
miles from Concord to Boston were one dreadful 
ambush. Reaching Lexington, a number of the 
British fell exhausted on the ground, their tongues 
parched from fatigue and thirst. 

Here they were joined by a large number of 
fresh British troops, and the whole force proceeded 
to Boston, pursued by the Patriots up to the very 
entrance of the city. Altogether, they lost about 
three hundred men, while the Americans lost only 
one hundred. 

Such was the beginning of the American Revo- 
lution. The midnight ride of Paul Revere was a 
very good beginning for the cause of American 
freedom. 



THE GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS 

Between Lake George and Lake Champlain, 
there once stood a famous old fort, known as Fort 
Ticonderoga. At the beginning of the Revolution, 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 155 

it was feebly garrisoned by English troops, but 
was well supplied with arms and ammunition. 
The Patriots needed these arms and ammunition, 
so as to carry on the war which had just begun 
at Lexington. We shall see how the fort was 
captured. 

As soon as the mountaineers of Vermont heard 
of the battle of Lexington, they dropped their 
axes and plows, and, seizing their rifles, banded to- 
gether for a march on Ticonderoga. Ethan Allen, 
a rugged and brave moimtaineer, was their leader. 
In order to meet the expenses of the expedition, 
funds, amounting to fifteen hundred dollars, were 
collected from the people of Connecticut. 

As the expedition advanced, one of the Connec- 
ticut agents, named Noah Phelps, went on ahead 
to find out the condition of the fort. Disguising 
himself as a countryman, he entered the strong- 
hold on the pretense that he wished to be shaved. 
Hunting for the barber, he kept his eyes and ears 
open, asking questions like an innocent farmer, 
until he found out all about the garrison and its 
equipment. 

Wlien Allen and the Green Mountain Boys 
neared their goal, they were joined by another 
force under the command of Benedict Arnold, who 
was then a brave oflScer in the American army. 



156 AMERICA FIRST 



though he afterwards proved himself a traitor. 
The two parties approached the fort, one moving 
at daybreak, a farmer's boy, w^ho lived near, act- 
ing as their guide. 

The stockade around the fort was reached. The 
gate was open, since the English Commander sus- 
pected no danger. The sentry tried to fire his 
gun, but it failed to go off; whereupon he ran in- 
side and gave the alarm. The attacking party 
was close upon his heels. Before any of the gar- 
rison could be awakened from their sleep, Allen 
and his men had taken possession, and resistance 
was useless. The capture was made by surprise 
and without bloodshed. 

Allen compelled one of the sentries to show him 
the way to the quarters of the Commander, Cap- 
tain Delaplace. Reaching his room, Allen called 
upon him in loud tones to surrender. The Com- 
mander sprang from bed, surprised and alarmed at 
the unusual demand. 

"By whose authority.'^" he asked, in his half- 
awake condition. 

"In the name of the Great Jehovah and the 
Continental Congress," replied Allen, in a loud 
voice. 

Delaplace made no reply, but hastity dressed to 
see what the madman from the mountains meant. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 157 

He soon discovered. Outside he heard the shouts 
of the Patriots, and saw the movement of men 
taking possession of the stores. Wlien he came 
from his quarters he reahzed that the fort had 
been occupied by a force, superior to his, and 
that it was surrendered without a shot being fired 
or a blow exchanged. 

The captured stores consisted of a large number 
of cannon and ammunition, besides small arms 
much needed by the Patriots in the great war 
which was to last for some years 



THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY 

Let us learn something of the kind of man 
George Washington was — the man whom we have 
long known as the *' Father of his Country." To 
look at, he was a fine type of man and soldier, — 
the type that would attract attention anywhere. 
He w^as tall, and held himself as straight as an 
arrow. He was six feet, two inches high, and 
weighed two hundred and twenty pounds. TOier- 
ever he went, in whatever company, he was distin- 
guished for his splendid height and erect figure. 
His eyes were light blue, and so deeply sunken 
that they gave him a serious expression. His face 



158 AMERICA FIRST 



was grave and thoughtful, though his disposition 
was full of cheer and good-will. 

In his young days, he was very athletic, with a 
strong right arm. It is said that he once threw a 
stone from the bottom to the top of the Natural 
Bridge, in Virginia, a height of over two hundred 
feet; and that he threw a piece of slate, rounded 
to the size of a silver dollar, across the Rappahan- 
nock River, at Fredericksburg, — a feat no other man 
had ever been able to accomplish. 

In fact, during the Revolution, though some of 
the backwoodsmen in the army were men of great 
size and strength, yet it was generally believed 
that Washington was as strong as the best of 
them. One day, at Mt. Vernon, some young men, 
who boasted of their power, were throwing an iron 
bar to see who could cover the greatest distance. 
Washington, watching them, said, *'Let me try my 
hand at this game." Without taking off his coat, 
he seized the bar, and, to the amazement of the 
party, threw it a considerable distance furtlier than 
any of the others had done. 

He was a fine wrestler when he was a young 
man. At one time, he was witnessing a WTestling 
match, and the champion challenged him to a trial 
of strength. Washington turned, and, without a 
word, seized the strong man, and, to the great 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 159 

amusement of the crowd, threw him flat on the 
ground. The defeated champion said he felt as 
though a hon had grabbed him, and, when he hit 
the ground, he expected every bone in his body 
to be- broken. 

Washington was also very fond of parties and 
dancing. He often rode, on winter nights, a dis- 
tance of ten miles, to attend a dance, and would 
reach home just in time for breakfast. He kept 
this up until he was sixty -four years old, when he 
had to WTite to a friend, "Alas! my dancing days 
are over." He liked to dress well, and was very 
fussy about the quality of cloth and the fit of his 
garments. He w^ore ruffled shirts, silver and gold 
lace on his hat, scarlet waistcoats, blue broadcloth 
coats, with silver trimmings, and marble-colored 
hose. In fact, the "Father of his Country" was 
something of a dandy, and kept it up to the end 
of his life. 

Like most soldiers, Washington was fond of 
horses, and was a splendid and daring rider. As 
he rode at the head of his troops, he was a con- 
spicuous figure. Lafayette once said of him, "I 
never beheld so superb a horseman." Jefferson 
wrote, "Washington was the best horseman of his 
age, and the most graceful figure that could be 
seen on horseback." 



160 AMERICA FIRST 



Washington was very methodical in his habits, 
and thrifty in business. He kept a diary, putting 
down daily happenings of his life, and keeping an 
accurate account of what money he received and 
how it was spent. He became wealthy, and, at 
the time of his death, was worth a half million 
dollars. He was then the richest man in America. 
His estate at Mt. Vernon covered eight thousand 
acres, the slaves and laborers numbering five hun- 
dred. His orders were, "Buy nothing, you can 
make yourself." Hence, he was the greatest farmer 
of the day. He made all his own flour and meal, 
and even the flour barrels. The cloth for the 
house and for the farm hands was woven on the 
premises. Like all rich Virginia planters, he kept 
open house, and there was rarely a time when his 
table was without one or more guests. He said 
his house was more like a tavern than anything 
else. 

He was very correct in his habits. He ate care- 
fully and slowly, and the simplest of food. He 
was grave and dignified, and seldom laughed, 
though he w^as not of a gloomy disposition. In 
almost every relation of public and private life, 
his character is worthy of study and of emulation. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 161 



NATHAN HALE 

Washington's army had been defeated in the 
battle of Long Island, and, only by a narrow 
chance did the troops manage to escape to Man- 
hattan Island. The British were threatening New 
York, and Washington was almost in despair. The 
one thing he needed most was information con- 
cerning the plans of the enemy. 

"If I could have someone to go into the enemy's 
lines, and find out their strength and purpose, I 
might save my army," he said to one of his offi- 
cers. "Get me the man if you can." 

The officer called his associates together, and 
put the problem before them, but, one by one, 
they refused the dangerous task. They knew the 
perils of the life of a spy. They knew he had to 
wear the enemy's uniform, or no uniform at all; 
had to pretend friendship with the foe, to keep an 
eye on everything, to find out what he could, to 
draw plans of forts, to secure important papers 
and keep them hidden, until he could slip back 
within his own lines. He needed quickness of 
mind and wit, a heart of courage, and nerve of 
iron, for he would be surrounded by danger every 



162 AMERICA FIRST 



minute, and if he were caught, his fate would be 
certain death. 

At last one officer heard what Washington 
wanted, and at once said, "I will take any risk 
for Washington and my country. I am ready to 
go." His name was Captain Nathan Hale. Hale 
had been a school teacher before the war. He was 
young, athletic, brave, and much admired by all 
who knew him. He was a famous runner, and, 
when a student at Yale College, held the record 
for the longest standing jump. ^Mien he came to 
Washington and asked for instructions, the great 
Chief said, 

"My boy, I have little to say. Go into the 
enemy's lines, find out how many troops they 
have, where they are placed, and w^hat they intend 
to do. That is all. Bring me word if you can. 
If you never get back, remember you are serving 
your country. God bless you!" 

Hale saluted and departed. He took off his uni- 
form, and put on a brown suit and a broad- 
brimmed hat, the dress of a Quaker school teacher. 
He went on board a sloop late at night, and was 
landed near the British outposts. He spent the 
next day with a farmer nearby, and then, in the 
afternoon, walked boldly into the enemy's lines. 

What he did for the next two weeks no one will 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 163 

ever know. He acted his part very well, however, 
for he was not suspected of being a spy. He told 
the British he was a Quaker, who did not believe 
in war, and that he wanted to teach school. But 
he was learning all he could. His eyes were alert 
and watchful, without seeming to be so. He 
listened to conversations and, occasionally, when 
close, he would make drawings of the forts and 
camp. All his notes were written in Latin, so that 
they could not be easily read. 

At last Hale learned all he thought was neces- 
sary. Gathering his material together, he ripped 
open the soles of his shoes and carefully hid the 
precious notes therein. Then he was ready to 
start for home. Washington was looking for him, 
and, by previous arrangement, was to send a boat 
for him to take him into the American lines. 
There was a little tavern at Huntingdon, near the 
place where the boat was to come. Hale walked 
into the tavern one day, and sat down, waiting 
until the time arrived for him to meet his friends. 

As he sat there, a man- came in and looked him 
over closely. Hale paid no attention, and the man 
went out. But Hale had been recognized by some- 
one who knew him, and the man was on his way 
to the British to report that the school teacher 
was also an American officer, known as Captain 



1G4 AMERICA FIRST 



Nathan Hale. After an hour or two, Hale left 
the tavern, and walked down toward the shore to 
meet his boat. But instead of his own boat at 
the landing, there was a British boat. The officer 
called out, "Surrender, you spy, or I fire." 

Hale knew he was caught, and held up his 
hands in token of surrender. He was carried to 
the British Commander, and made no effort to 
conceal his name or his purpose. They tore open 
his shoes and found the papers. Then they con- 
demned him to be hanged at sunrise the next day. 

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and Hale 
was led out before the gallows, which w^as nothing 
but the limb of a tree. "Have you anything to 
say.f^" asked the British officer. The brave young 
patriot looked up into the sky, and then at the 
rope, which already was around his neck, and 
slowly replied, "I only regret that I have but 
one life to lose for my country." 

A few moments later Nathan Hale was dead. 
His body was probably buried there, under the 
tree, but nobody to this day knows. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 1G5 



THE BRAVERY OF ELIZABETH ZANE 

This is a story of the attack on Fort Henry, a 
small frontier settlement near where Wheeling, 
West Virginia, now stands. It was in the summer 
of 1777, when Simon Girty, one of the worst char- 
acters that ever appeared on the stage of Ameri- 
can history, led a band of four hundred Indians 
in assault upon the fort. Colonel Sheppard was 
in charge of the fortification, with only forty men. 
As soon as the movements of Girty and his band 
became knowTi, the inhabitants of the little town 
of Wlieehng, then composed of about twenty-five 
log huts, hastened to the fort for protection. 

A reconnoitering party was sent out by Colonel 
Sheppard to discover the whereabouts of the 
enemy. They fell into an ambush, and more than 
half of them were victims of the rifle and toma- 
hawk. Another party went to their rehef, but 
most of them also were killed by the savages. 
This reduced the fort to a small garrison. Inside 
were the women and children, and outside raged a 
band of four hundred blood-thirsty Indians, led by 
a desperate and skillful commander. The situation 
of Fort Henry was indeed perilous, and all those 
within seemed doomed. 



166 AI^IERICA FIRST 



Colonel Slieppard was not a man to surrender 
easily He would rather die by rifle shot, than be 
burned at the stake. Calling his men around him, 
he said: 

"We must defend this fort to the last man. If 
we surrender, it means sure death to us all by 
slow torture, and the women and children will 
suffer most. Let each man do his full duty, and 
the women must help." 

Gladly they began their desperate defense. The 
women cast the bullets, measured out the powder 
from the scant supply, and loaded the rifles. 
Among them was Elizabeth Zane, the sister of two 
of the defenders of the fort. She had recently re- 
turned from school in Philadelphia, and knew very 
little of border warfare, but she had a brave spirit, 
as we shall see. 

Early one morning, Girty and his followers came 
before the fort with a white flag, and demanded its 
immediate surrender. 

Colonel Sheppard hurled back the defiant reply, 
"This fort shall never be surrendered so long as 
there is an American left inside to defend it." 

Girty was infuriated, and, blind with rage, called 
out, "Then we shall force you to surrender, and 
not a man or w^oman shall be left alive in this 
town." Turning to his Indian followers, he ordered 
them to attack the fort. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 167 

Unfortunately, some of the log huts of the in- 
habitants were sufficiently near to afford protection 
to the savages, so that they could begin their as- 
sault under cover. They ran into these huts, and 
opened fire, but with little effect, for the defenders 
kept well out of sight. The brave Patriots withm 
were all sharp-shooters, and had no powder to 
waste; every shot they fired meant the death- 
knell of some Indian who had exposed himself. 

After six hours, the Indians withdrew from the 
houses to a place nearby, and, for a while, there 
was quiet. It was fortunate, for, just at that mo- 
ment, someone brought word that the powder of 
the fort was nearly exhausted; it would not last 
an hour longer, and then the Patriots would be at 
the mercy of their foe. 

Ebenezer Zane looked at his own house, about 
sixty yards away, and said, "There is a keg of 
powder yonder. If we could get it, we would be 
safe; but someone will have to go for it." 

"Powder," cried Colonel Sheppard, "we will 
have to get it, no matter what the risk. One of 
us must go at once." 

WTio should undertake the dangerous mission .^^ 
The Indians were in easy gunshot, and it meant 
death to any one showing himself outside the fort. 
Colonel Sheppard would not order any person to 



1C8 A.AIERICA FIRST 



go, but instead, called for volunteers. Every man 
instantly offered to go; not one held back. But 
just as they were deciding, a woman stepped for- 
ward, and said: 

"No man can be spared now. We have too 
few to defend this place. I am the one to go. 
Unbar the gate and let me out.'* 

Colonel Sheppard looked at her with great ad- 
miration, and, after a few moments, said, "God 
bless you, my girl, and may you return in safety. 
Perhaps your going will throw the Indians off 
their guard. Unbar the gates, men, and let her 
pass." 

The gate was opened, and she walked steadily 
and quickly across the open area toward the house 
where the powder was. The Indians looked on in 
wonder, thinking she was coming to them as a 
captive. But the girl sprang into the house, seized 
the keg, and reappeared at the door, on her way 
back to the fort. There was now no time for 
leisure. She ran as fast as she could with the 
precious keg in her arms. 

AYith a yell of defiance, the Indians sprang in 
pursuit, and opened fire upon the fleeing girl. 
She ran like a deer, swift and straight toward the 
open gate. Not a shot touched her, though bullets 
struck the ground about her feet and went flying 




'Unbar the gate and let me pass?" 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 169 

around her head. In a few moments, she had 
reached the fort, and fell Into the arms of her 
friends, who raised a great shout as the gate was 
barred and the powder was safely In their hands. 

"We have a heroine In this fort, and will now 
conquer or die," cried the men, as they hastily 
prepared to meet the next attack. Suffice It to 
say that they did defend the fort, until help came 
and the savages were driven away. And, to this 
day, the people love to tell the story of how Eliza- 
beth Zane saved the fort, and the lives of those 
who afterwards helped build a great city. 



CAPTURING THE HESSIANS 

It w^as a cold December night, and the little 
army of General Washington stood upon the banks 
of the Delaware River, getting ready to cross its 
icy waters. The men were cold and hungry, tired 
and discouraged. It seemed as if the war would 
be lost for lack of men and supplies. The whole 
country was downhearted. 

Not so General Washington. He knew that one 
victory would raise the hope of the troops and the 
country, and he proposed to start winning it that 
night. Over at Trenton were a thousand hired 



170 A^IERICA FIRST 



Hessian soldiers, celebrating Christmas. Washing- 
ton determined to be on hand at the celebration. 

*' Courage, my men," he cried. "Tomorrow will 
be a great day, if you can stand this night." 

The men got into the boats, and took the oars. 
Blocks of ice floated by over the frozen river. 
The w^ind blew keen and cold. The men shivered 
and shook, as they steered their boat amid the 
perils that surrounded them. 

At last they were over. \Miat stamping of feet 
and blowing of hands to keep warm! Then came 
the long march of nine miles to Trenton, through 
a blinding snow-storm. Hour after hour passed, 
while the men stumbled and fell and got up and 
trudged on and on. No soldiers, except those 
fighting for home and country and freedom, could 
have endured through that march. But at last 
the almost exhausted army came to Trenton. 

In the meantime, the hired soldiers of the King 
of England had been having a great time, drinking 
and feasting and boasting of what they would do 
to Washington's army when next they met. The 
Hessian Commander at Trenton was named Rail. 
He had made his headquarters in the house of a 
merchant, one Abraham Hunt. Rail was very fond 
of drinking and playing cards. On Christmas 
night, he and liunt were in a warm room, before 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 171 

a big fire, with plenty to eat and drink at hand; 
a game of cards was in progress. Just at this 
moment Washington's army was crossing the Dela- 
ware, amid the snow and ice. 

A servant came in and handed Rail a note. He 
thrust it into his pocket, saying, "I will read it 
later on." But it so happened that he forgot the 
note, and went on playing cards and drinking. 
Late in the night, he went to bed and slept, and 
all the while Washington was drawing closer and 
closer through the blinding snow! 

The next day, Washington was before Trenton. 
The sun was shining, and his troops were eager 
and ready for battle. Bursting upon the unsus- 
pecting Hessians, the great battle of Trenton be- 
gan. It did not last long. All the Hessians, one 
thousand in number, surrendered, after a hundred 
had been killed. Washington lost four men, two 
frozen to death and two killed. 

Rail was mortally wounded, and borne to a 
tavern nearby. It was then that he thought of 
the note in his pocket, and asked for it. When it 
was opened it was found to contain a warning of 
the plans of Washington, which had been sent by 
a Torv, and delivered to a servant in Hunt's 
house. WTiat a difference in the history of our 
country, if the note had been read in time for the 



172 AMERICA FIRST 



Hessians to have met Washington on his way to 
Trenton ! 

It was a great American victory, and brought a 
happy Christmas season to the Colonies when it 
became known. 



HOW LAFAYETTE CAME TO AMERICA 

Lafayette belonged to the highest rank of the 
French nobility. AVhen he was only thirteen years 
old, he was left with large landed estates, and the 
title of Marquis. He went to college in Paris, 
and, while there, met the King of France, Louis 
XV, who took him as a page into the royal house- 
hold. \Vlien he was fifteen years old, he was given 
a military commission through the influence of the 
Queen. 

Soon after this, he was married, and was sta- 
tioned as Captain of Dragoons, at a fort on the 
German border. At dinner, one day, he heard 
someone talking about the Americans and the 
Declaration of Independence. He listened very 
attentively, and then said: 

*'If what you say of those Colonies is true, they 
deserve their liberty, and I, for one, would like to 
help them." 



STORIES OF, OUR OWN HISTORY 173 

Shortly after this, he heard of the American vic- 
tories at Trenton and Princeton, and, hastening to 
the American agents in Paris, he said to them, "I 
desire to aid America in her fight for freedom. I 
am wiUing to go in person, if you can find a way 
to send me." 

But Lafayette was only nineteen years of age, 
and belonged to the French nobility. France and 
England were at peace. If he should try to come 
to America, there might be trouble with the Eng- 
lish government, and, besides that, his own King 
probably would not let him undertake so foolish 
an enterprise. So the agent said: 

"Marquis, you are very brave and you are very 
wealthy. We cannot help you even if we would, 
for America has no ships on this side of the ocean. 
If you desire to go to America, it must of neces- 
sity be at your own expense. We shall be glad 
to know that you have decided to go." 

Lafayette, thereupon, went about getting ready. 
His preparations were made secretly, for fear the 
King of France would forbid his going on account 
of the existing friendship wath England. At his 
own expense, he purchased a ship and fitted it out 
for the voyage. \Miile the vessel was being pre- 
pared, Lafayette paid a visit to London so as to 
remove suspicion from his design. 



174 AMERICA FIRST 



While he was in London, the British Ambassa- 
dor at Paris in some way learned of his purpose 
to go to America, and procured orders for his ar- 
rest. Accordingly, when Lafayette reached his 
ship, and was about to sail, he was arrested by 
order of the King. Letters were sent to him by 
all his noble relatives, telling him how foolish he 
was, and urging him to abandon his purpose. His 
wife wrote to him, however, not to give up his 
enterprise, but to go to America if he could find 
a way to do so. 

Lafayette was not to be stopped by orders from 
the King or any one else. So, while the arresting 
party was on the way to Paris, the bold young 
nobleman blackened his face, put on false hair and 
old clothes, and passed the guards, making them 
think he was a negro laborer. 

After a few hours, the guards discovered the 
trick played upon them; a great stir and com- 
motion followed. Swift horses were saddled, and 
men went galloping in the direction the escaping 
Marquis had taken. But Lafayette had three 
hours start, and was driving the best horses that 
could be found. He was headed for the border 
of Spain, after passing which he would be safe 
from arrest. 

In spite of the furious pursuit, Lafayette at last 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 176 

was safe; in a short while he was on board his 
ow^n vessel and ready to set sail. With him were 
eleven officers bent on the same mission. His de- 
parture created a great sensation in France and 
England, but Lafayette cared very little for that. 

The Captain of his vessel did not know where 
he was bound, until Lafayette ordered him to 
steer for the shores of America. The Captain was 
alarmed and said, "I dare not do so. The Eng- 
lish will capture us." To which Lafayette replied, 
"If you do not do as I tell you, I shall put you 
in irons. This is my vessel, and I will order it 
wherever I desire." Thereupon the Captain steered 
the ship for x\merica. 

The voyage was long and stormy, but at last 
Lafayette and his party arrived one night near 
Georgetown, South Carolina. At first they were 
taken for the enemy, but, as soon as it was known 
who they were, the people of Georgetown and 
Charleston entertained them with great hospitality. 
Their arrival in America created a greater sensation 
than their departure from Europe, for the fortunes 
of the American army were at a low ebb just at 
this time, and the people were much discouraged. 

Lafayette and his party proceeded by land to 
Philadelphia, where Congress was then in session. 
LTpon his arrival, he wrote a letter to the President 



176 AMERICA FIRST 



of that body, asking leave to enter the army as a 
volunteer, and to serve without pay. But Con- 
gress had no idea of letting so brave a man take 
such a low position; he was at once given the 
rank of Major-General. 

He then lacked one month of being twenty 
years old. Those who saw him, at the time, de- 
scribed him as tall and slender, very graceful in 
his movements and gracious in his manners. He 
talked rapidly, with many gestures, and, when he 
spoke of liberty for the Colonies in America, his 
eyes shone very brightly and his face expressed his 
great emotion. 

Soon afterwards, Lafayette met Washington at a 
dinner party in Philadelphia. The two men looked 
at each other w^ith interest. Washington was tall, 
dignified, and forty-five years of age. Lafayette 
was hardly more than a college boy, slender and 
enthusiastic. After the dinner was over, Wash- 
ington took him aside and said: 

*'Sir, I thank you for the sacrifice you are mak- 
ing for the cause of America. I shall be glad to 
have you a member of my military family." 

Thus began the intimacy between these two 
great men, which was never for a moment inter- 
rupted. Washington loved Lafayette as a son, and 
learned to trust him as a General of ability and 



STORIES OF OUR O^VN HISTORY 177 

courage. He served in many battles with distin- 
guished gallantry. 

WTien Lafayette went back to France to get 
more aid for America, he was forgiven for running 
away, and was received everywhere with great en- 
thusiasm. France became the ally of America in 
the War for Independence, and Lafayette raised 
large sums of money for the Colonists. The head 
of the French Ministry laughingly said: 

"It is a fortunate thing that Lafayette did not 
take it into his head to strip his Majesty's palace 
of all its furniture to send to his dear Americans 
for I verily believe the King now would refuse him 
nothing." 



THE PATRIOTISM OF LYDIA DARRAH 

Wlien the British occupied Philadelphia, the Ad- 
jutant-General of the British Army had his quar- 
ters in the home of a Quaker, named Darrah, and 
his wife, Lydia. The two were stanch Patriots, 
who little liked the private conferences of the 
British oflScers, frequently held in their house at 
night. 

One cold and snowy day in December, 1777, the 
Adjutant-General told Mrs. Darrah to make ready 



178 AlVIERICA FIRST 



the upper back room of the house for a meeting 
of his friends, which he intended for that very 
night. 

"Be sure your family are all in bed early, for 
my friends may stay until a late hour. When they 
are ready to depart, I will call you that you may 
let them out, and extinguish the fire and the 
candles." * 

She set about doing as she was bid. x\t the 
same time, she was so impressed with the mystery 
of it all, and so suspicious of the purpose of the 
officer, that she resolved to find out what was 
going on. 

Wlien night came, she saw that her family 
were in bed, and, after the officers arrived, she 
bade them good-night, saying she would also retire 
to her room. So she did, but not to sleep. 

After a while she quietly stole, in her stocking 
feet, along the passage until she came to the room 
where the officers were in consultation. She placed 
her ear to the keyhole, and listened intently to 
what was being said inside. 

One of the officers was reading a paper, which 
was an order from Sir William Howe, arranging 
for a secret attack on the forces of General Wash- 
ington. The British troops were to leave Phila- 
delphia on the night of December 4, and to sur- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 179 



prise the Patriots before daybreak. The plan was 
carefully made, and these officers were receiving 
their instructions. 

Mrs. Darrah had heard enough. She went 
quietly back to her room, and lay down on the 
bed. In a few minutes, steps were heard along the 
passage, and there was a rap at her door. 

"Come, wake up, Mrs. Darrah, and let us out," 
demanded the Adjutant-General. 

Mrs. Darrah pretended to be asleep, and the 
officer rapped more loudly and called again. Yawn- 
ing, and in a sleepy voice, the patriotic woman 
answered. Then she arose and let the men out of 
the house. She slept no more that night, for she 
knew that Washington must be warned; her 
thoughts were busy w^th some plan to convey 
him the information she had. 

By dawn she was out of bed and ready for 
action. She knew that flour was wanted for her 
family, and so she told her husband that she was 
going to Frankford to get the needed supply. 
This was not an unusual thing, since the people in 
those days depended on the Frankford Mills for 
their flour, and delivery wagons were not heard of. 

The morning was cold, and snow covered the 
ground. Frankford was five miles away, and Mrs. 
Darrah had to walk the entire way, and bring 



180 AMERICA FIRST 



back the flour on lier shoulder. Bag in hand, the 
brave woman started on her journey afoot. She 
stopped at Howe's headquarters to get a passport 
to leave the city. It was still early in the day 
when she reached the Mills, and left her bag to 
be filled with flour. From the Mills she pushed 
on toward the headquarters of General Washington. 

After walking a few miles, she met Lieutenant- 
Colonel Craig, one of Washington's officers, who 
had been sent out in search of information. It 
did not take her long to tell her story to him. 
He returned rapidly to his own lines, while she 
walked leisurely back to the Mills, as though there 
was nothing on her mind. She shouldered her bag 
of flour, and trudged home through five miles of 
snow. But she had the satisfaction of reahzing 
that Washington now knew the plans of the enemy. 

On the night of December 4, the British troops 
moved quietly out of Philadelphia, and advanced 
to attack the supposedly unsuspecting Americans. 
Just before daybreak, they arrived in front of the 
American lines, and, to their surprise, found every- 
thing ready to receive them. The Patriots were 
armed and prepared for their foe. In much dis- 
may, the British turned quietly around and 
marched back to Philadelphia, having gone miles 
through the cold and darkness for nothing. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 181 

The Adjutant-General could not imagine how 
Washington had found out the plans for the at- 
tack. The next day he said to Mrs. Darrah: 

**It is strange how Washington discovered our 
purpose. You and your family were all asleep 
when I gave the orders to the officers, and yet 
some one found out. We marched miles and miles 
to find the Americans under ai;ms, with cannon, 
ready, and then we had to march back like a 
parcel of children. I w^onder who told him we 
were coming?" 

Mrs. Darrah could have enlightened him on this 
point, but she kept her counsel. It was some 
months after the British had left Philadelphia be- 
fore she mentioned to any one the way in which 
she had outwitted General Howe and saved the 
Americans from surprise. 



CAPTAIN MOLLY PITCHER 

The British had left Philadelphia, and were in 
full retreat across Jersey on their way to New 
York. Washington was right behind them, the 
front ranks of the American Army fighting the rear 
ranks of the British. It was a long, running fight. 
At last they came to Monmouth, and there a 



182 AMERICA FIRST 



battle was begun. General Charles Lee, in charge 
of the American forces, acted so badly that the 
issue of the fight was long in doubt. 

WTien Washington saw the disorder of the 
troops, he was angry, and rebuked General Lee so 
harshly that the ojQScer turned as white as a sheet. 
He was afterwards tried by court-martial and 
dismissed. 

Then Washington took charge himself. Orders 
flew thick and fast. Aids scurried in every direc- 
tion, putting cannon in position, and getting ready 
for the renewed attack which was sure to come. 
Soon the guns roared, the heat of battle became 
terrible, and smoke covered the entire field; the 
dust and dirt were blinding. The men were suffer- 
ing for lack of water. It was then that Molly 
Pitcher, the wife of one of the gunners, called out, 
"Go on with the firing. I will fetch water from 
the spring." 

The men waved their hands to her; she ran 
down the hill, drew water in a canteen, and carried 
it back and forth to the soldiers. She passed from 
cannon to cannon, while the men drank and kept 
on with their deadly work. 

How many times she did this no one knew, but, 
as she was coming once with her supply of water, 
a shot from the enemy struck her husband in the 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 183 

breast, and he fell beside his smoking cannon. 
Molly ran to him, and knelt down by him; one 
look was enough to convince her that he was dead. 

As she sat there in speechless grief, with the 
dead man's head in her lap, an officer rode up, and 
said to some soldiers, "Take this cannon to the 
rear; there is now no one to serve it." 

Wlien Molly heard this, she sprang to her feet, 
and cried out, "Stop! That cannon shall not leave 
this field for lack of some one to serve it. Since 
they have killed my poor husband, I will take his 
place, and avenge his death." 

With that, she seized the rammer from the 
hands of Iter dead husband, sprang to the muzzle 
of the piece, rammed home the powder, and 
stepped back, saying, "Ready!" Then the cannon 
blazed again, carrying death and dismay to the 
ranks of the enemy. 

Molly Pitcher stood at her post as long as the 
battle lasted. Black with smoke, covered with 
dirt and dust, blinded by the heat, she did the 
work of a man. She never flinched for a moment, 
nor did she stop until the order came to cease 
firing. 

Then she sat down on the ground by the side 
of her poor dead husband, took his head again in 
her lap, and gave way to her tears and gTief. 



184 AMERICA FIRST 



Washington had seen her with her cannon dur- 
ing the battle. He admired her courage and pa- 
triotism, and sent for her to come to headquarters. 
He told her what a splendid deed of heroism she 
had done, and conferred on her an officer's com- 
mission. After that, she wore an epaulet, and 
everybody called her "Captain Molly." 



m:\rion, the swamp-fox 

The army of the American General, Gates, had 
crossed the Pee Dee River, in South Carolina, and 
was pushing forward to encounter the British who 
were overrunning that portion of the country. On 
the march, there suddenly appeared a body of 
twenty men who asked that they might join the 
army. It was a sad lot of ill-clad and badly- 
equipped men and boys, some white and some 
black, all mounted on the worst looking horses you 
can imagine. The soldiers of the regular army 
broke into laughter when they saw this motley 
crowd of volunteers. And yet this very band was 
destined to become famous, for its leader was 
Francis Marion, the Swamp-Fox of South CaroHna, 

Marion himself was small in size and thin-faced 
— a modest man, of no better equipment than his 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 185 

men, and riding a horse of which no one could be 
proud. But his eye flashed with a brave spirit, 
and he had the manner of a man of high adventure. 

General Gates gave no welcome to this ragged 
soldiery, and, when Marion modestly offered some 
advice about the best methods of dealing with the 
British in the South, the conceited General told 
him he needed no assistance in that line, which 
was far from the truth. 

Governor Rutledge knew Marion, and realized 
what his service would mean; so a commission as 
Brigadier-General was given him, much to the 
delight of his men, who were glad to be under so 
brave a leader. With this commission, and with 
his force increased to a hundred or more men, he 
rode away to carry on warfare according to his 
own ideas. 

The swamps were his headquarters. In their 
impenetrable thickets, he found hiding-places for 
his men, from which they could emerge at any 
time to strike stinging blows at the enemj^; and 
into which they could retreat, safe from attack. 
No force dared follow them into the dangerous 
morasses. His little company was constantly chang- 
ing, at one time numbering several hundred and 
then shrinking to a mere handful. 

The swamps could not feed a large army; still 



186 AMERICA FIRST 



there were game in abundance, and fish to be had 
m the streams. The nearby farms afforded grain 
for the horses, and occasional food for the men. 
The camp was in the middle of some swamp, on 
dry land, surrounded by thickets and cane-brakes; 
the paths leading in and out were known only to 
the men themselves. It was a safe retreat, from 
which the little band could saunter forth like a 
drove of hornets, whose blow^s struck deadly terror 
to the foe. 

A young British officer was sent from George- 
town to treat with Marion for the exchange of 
prisoners. Marion was glad enough to be rid of 
prisoners, because he had to guard and feed them. 
The British officer, by Marion's command, was 
blindfolded, and led through the swamp to the 
camp of the brave patriotic leader. Allien he 
arrived, and the bandage was removed, he w^as 
amazed to see the hiding place of Marion and his 
men, with great trees around, and deep swamps on 
every side. In their rough uniforms, the men, 
lying about, looked more like a band of outlaws, 
than a camp of soldiers. 

He was still more surprised when he saw Marion 
himself. Instead of a burly giant, there stood a 
small, quiet man, of polite manners, roughly clad 
and poorly equipped. Little in his appearance 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 187 

would indicate that he was the dreaded leader, 
who had spread terror throughout the South among 
the enemies of his country. 

The business of exchange having been arranged, 
Marion turned to his guest, and said, 

"My dear sir, I should be glad to have you 
dine with me. It has been some time since you 
have had food, and you will feel better for having 
eaten. Our dinner is nearly ready." 

The officer readily consented, and looked for- 
ward to the enjoyment of a meal for which he was 
quite eager. In a few minutes, a log was brought, 
upon which the oflScer and Marion took their seats. 
Then the cook appeared, carrying a large piece of 
bark, upon which there were some roasted sweet 
potatoes. 

"Help yourself," said Marion. "This is all we 
have for dinner to-day," and, taking a large potato 
he broke it in two, and placed it before his guest. 

"Surely, you have more food than this!" ex- 
claimed the astonished soldier. "This cannot be 
your ordinary fare." 

"Yes, indeed," said Marion, "only we have 
more than usual to-day, there being a guest to 
serve!" 

The officer ate his potato in silence. On return- 
ing to Georgetown, he resigned his commission, 



188 AMERICA FIRST 



saying that a people who could live on such simple 
fare in order to gain their liberty should be allowed 
their independence. 

For many years, Marion and his men carried on 
their rude but effective warfare, and, in the end, 
did such valuable service to the American cause 
that the large armies of General Greene were en- 
abled to drive the British from the Southern 
States. 

OUTWITTING A TORY 

During the Revolution, the soldiers of Sumter 
and Marion in the South were very annoying to 
the British Commanders. The most notorious of 
these Commanders was Colonel Tarleton, and many 
are the stories of his cruelty. He was active in 
plundering and burning the homes of the sturdy 
Patriots. Tarleton liked nothing better than to 
destroy the fields and harry the family of some 
patriot soldier who happened to be away with 
Marion or Sumter. 

Not all the inhabitants of the country were 
Patriots. Some still adhered to the British cause. 
These were bitterly hated by their neighbors, and 
were called Tories. 

During one of the raids of Colonel Tarleton, a 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 189 

young Scotchman, named MacDonald, one of 
Marion's soldiers decided to play a trick upon a 
man living in his neighborhood, whom he suspected 
of being a Tory. As soon as MacDonald heard 
that Tarleton was near by, he put on a British uni- 
form, and, early one morning, calling at the house 
of the man, said to him: 

"The compliments, sir, of Colonel Tarleton, who 
sends you his respects as being one of the friends 
of the King." 

"Come in! come in!" cried the Tory, much 
delighted to have a visit from a British officer. 
"You say that Colonel Tarleton sends me his com- 
pliments, and knows that I am a friend of the 
King.f^ Why, indeed, I am, and am ready to show 
it at any time. Tell the Colonel so." 

"That I will," replied MacDona^ld. "But Colonel 
Tarleton is already in need of your aid, and de- 
sires me to beg of you one of your fine horses for 
him to ride. He will use it in driving these rebels 
out of the country." 

"One of my horses!" cried the old Tory. "That 
I will, gladly. He shall have the best in my pas- 
ture. I shall get him at once. I am honored to 
furnish the Colonel with a horse!" 

WTiereupon the Tory called his negro servant, 
and gave orders that the best horse in his stable 



190 AJVIERICA FIRST 



should be brought out and made ready for the 
British officer to take away with him. \Miile the 
servant was gone, the Tory brought out rich food 
and wine, and spread it before MacDonald, who 
did not hesitate to eat and drink to his heart's 
content. 

When the horse arrived, a beautiful young ani- 
mal, the sly old Tory said, 

"Now, you tell the Colonel I send this with my 
compliments, and, if I find he can ever do me a 
favor, I shall come to ask him." 

"That I shall, the very next time I see him," 
said MacDonald, and rode away on the full-blooded 
steed. But, instead of going to the headquarters 
of the British Army, MacDonald rode off to the 
swamps, where Marion and his men were in hid- 
ing. Here he told them how he had fooled the 
old Tory. They laughed a long time over the 
story. 

"Of course we could have taken the horse any- 
how, but I wanted to be sure he was a Tory, and 
then, I enjoy a joke. I would like to hear what 
he will have to say when he finds out his mis- 
take," declared MacDonald to his companions. 

The next morning the old Tory w^ent to see 
Colonel Tarleton, and presented himself with a 
smiling face. Tarleton received him coldly, and 
inquired his business. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 191 

"How do you like the horse I sent you yester- 
day?" asked the smiHng Tory. 

"What horse?" demanded Tarleton. "No one 
sent me a horse yesterday or any other day." 

"Why, a British officer came to my house, and 
said you sent him for one of my fine horses; I 
gave it to him, with a saddle and blanket, a pair 
of silver mounted pistols, and a rain coat; and he 
had, heavens knows how much, food and drink," 
cried the bewildered Tory. 

"Somebody has been fooling you, old man. I 
have not seen or heard of your horse," said Tar- 
leton, turning away. 

The Tory now realized the trick that had been 
played upon him. He swore roundly that he 
would get even wdth those rascally rebels, if it 
took him the rest of his life. He then went home in 
a great rage; but he never saw his fine horse again. 

As for MacDonald and his new friend, they be- 
came inseparable. It was a beautiful horse, six- 
teen hands high, with the eyes of an eagle, and a 
proud spirit in his veins. The road was never too 
long for him, and the run never too swift. He 
learned his master's voice and whistle, and, when 
he heard the call, he came like the wind, bearing 
him swiftly into battle, or safely beyond the reach 
of his enemies. 



192 AMERICA FIRST 



SUPPORTING THE COLORS 

Among the heroes of the Revolution, none were 
more famous for their adventures than Marion's 
men. They hved in the woods and swamps, some- 
times a large body, and sometimes a small body 
but always ready to sally forth under their leader, 
Francis Marion, to punish the enemy. 

The best known of all these men was Sergeant 
William Jasper. He was very brave, and in no 
way did he seem to fear for his life. At the battle 
of Fort Moultrie, Jasper w^as busily engaged. 
WTiile the struggle was at its height, with danger 
at its greatest, he saw the flag of the fort fall out- 
side the works. It had been carried away by a 
shot from the enemy. 

Without a moment's hesitation, he leaped over 
the walls of the fort, jumped down into the ditch, 
and picked up the flag where it lay on the ground. 
Coolly fastening it to a rod, which was used for 
wiping out the cannon, he leaped back on to the 
wall of the fort, and stuck the rod in the sand of 
the breastworks. 

Shot rained thick around him, and it seemed 
every moment as if he would be killed. But he 
finished his work, left the flag waving defiance to 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 193 

the enemy, and quietly took his place in the ranks 
with his men. 

General Moultrie was so struck with admiration 
by this deed that he unbuckled his own sword, 
and handed it to Jasper, saying, "Take this, and 
wear it. You have committed a deed of great 
bravery, and I honor you for it." 

When the soldiers were hiding in the woods of 
South Carolina, Jasper was often sent into the 
British lines to find out what the enemy was doing. 
He was a good scout, and could so change his 
appearance that nobody recognized him. His fa- 
vorite amusement was to pretend to be a simple- 
minded countryman, who had something to sell. 
In this guise he would find his way into the British 
camps. There he would abuse the Americans and 
praise the British, but his keen eye meanwhile 
learned a great deal that would be of value to his 
Commander. 

Upon one of these risky visits, Jasper and a 
friend, named Newton, saw a body of American 
prisoners brought in. The wife of one of them had 
come along, carrying a little child. She was cry- 
ing, and seemed in great distress, for she knew her 
husband had once been a soldier on the British 
side, and had deserted to fight for his own coun- 
try. This meant quick trial and certain death for 
desertion. 



194 AMERICA FIRST 



Jasper felt sorry for the couple, and resolved to 
rescue them, if he could. The prisoners started, 
under escort, for Savannah, where they would 
stand trial. Jasper and Newton quietly left the 
British camp, and went in an opposite direction, 
after pretending that *'the scoundrels ought to be 
shot." 

Soon, they turned, and- made their way back 
toward Savannah. The two had no guns, nor 
weapons of any kind, but they were determined 
to rescue the unfortunate prisoners, if they could. 

Within two miles of Savannah, they stopped on 
the edge of a forest, near a spring; there they hid 
themselves, awaiting the arrival of the prisoners 
and their guard. It was not long before the party, 
consisting of ten British soldiers in charge of the 
prisoners, came into view. 

The soldiers were tired. The spring looked cool 
and inviting, and the day was warm. Leaning 
their guns against the trees, they took off their 
knapsacks, drank freely of the water, and lay 
down to rest. Two soldiers only were left in charge 
of the guns and the prisoners. The latter sat on 
the ground, and Jasper could see the woman near 
her husband, with the baby asleep in her lap. 

"Now is the time," whispered Jasper to Newton. 
At the word, the brave men sprang from the 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 195 

thicket, seized the guns from the trees, and shot 
down the two sentinels. The others cried out in 
dismay and sprang to their feet. But it was too 
late, for they found their own guns levelled at 
them, by two very brave and determined Patriots. 
''Surrender at once, or you are dead men," cried 
Jasper. 

The British threw up their hands, and became 
the prisoners of those whom, a short while before, 
they had been guarding. The party then turned 
about, on their way now to the American camp. 

Not long after this, Jasper was among the 
troops that assaulted Savannah, trying to capture 
it from the British. The column to which he be- 
longed had pressed forward over ditches and para- 
pets, and had planted the flag of South Carolina 
on the works of the enemy. 

A storm of shot and shell drove back the Caro- 
linians, and cut down the staff that held the flag. 
Jasper saw that the flag would fall into the hands 
of the British, and ran back to get it; in doing so 
he received a mortal wound. 

He was borne from the field, and carried to his 
death-bed. He exclaimed, "I have at last got my 
furlough." 

Pointing to his sword, he said to those around 
him, "That was presented to me for my services 



196 AMERICA FIRST 



in defense of Fort Moultrie. Give it to my father, 
and tell him I have worn it with honor. If he 
should weep, say to him that his son died in the 
hope of a better life." 

A little later, they brought him the flag he had 
rescued. Looking at it, he smiled. ij 

"Tell Mrs. Elliott," he said, "that I lost my 
life supporting the colors which she presented to 
our regiment." 

As death drew near, the brave officer began 
faintly to recall many scenes of battle in which he 
had taken part. He sent a farewell message to 
his Commander and his men, and to the prisoners 
he had rescued at the spring. His last words, 
breathed to a friend nearby, were, "I am glad to 
have saved their lives, and I do not mind losing 
mine; for I was supporting the colors." 



NANCY HART, THE WAR WOMAN OF 

GEORGIA 

Among the remarkable women of the Revolu- 
tion was Nancy Hart, the sturdy wife of a farmer. 
She lived in a log cabin, in one of the counties of 
Georgia. She was very muscular, was six feet tall, 
cross-eyed, and had a vicious temper. She hated 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 197 

the Tories, who were the American sympathizers 
with the British, and never lost an opportunity to 
show her feehng for them. 

There are many stories told of the courage of 
Nancy Hart. One evening she and her children 
were sitting around a log fire, over which a pot of 
soap was hanging. Nancy was stirring the boiling 
soap with a big ladle, and was telling the children 
some exciting adventures of the war. Suddenly, 
one of the children heard some one creeping up to 
the house, and noticed an eye peeping through the 
cracks betw^een the logs. "Tories, mother, Tories," 
whispered the child. 

Nancy nodded, but w^ent on talking and stirring 
the soap, while she kept a sharp lookout for the 
eyes. Suddenly, she dashed a ladle of the scalding 
soap through the crack full into the face of the 
eavesdropper, who, taken by surprise and blinded 
with pain, roared at a great rate! 

Nancy soon had him bound, hand and foot, and 
hastened to turn him over to the Patriots. 

When the Tories were overrunning Georgia, 
Nancy one day heard the tramp of a horse rapidly 
approaching her cabin. It was a Patriot riding 
for life, pursued by a party of British. She let 
down the bars of the fence before her cabin, ordered 
the man to go around to the back, and disappear, 



198 AMERICA FIRST 



if he had' time, in the woods. She then put up 
the bars, closed the door of her cabin, and waited. 

In a few moments some Tories rode up, and 
called out noisily to her. She wrapped her head 
up in an old shawl and, opening the door cautiously, 
asked, in a complaining voice, why they wanted to 
disturb a sick, lone woman. 

"Have you seen or heard anybody on horseback 
pass this way?" they demanded. 

"No," replied Nancy, "but I saw some one on a 
sorrel horse turn into the woods a httle way up 
the road." 

"That is our man," they said, and rode away in 
search of him. 

"What fools!" exclaimed Nancy. "If they had 
looked at the ground, instead of at me, they could 
have seen the tracks of a horse coming up to my 
house, and leading around to the swamp." 

Not long afterwards, a party of five or six Tories, 
who had been on a murder expedition in a neigh- 
boring county, reached Nancy Hart's cabin. Enter- 
ing boldly, they demanded food. Nancy's hus- 
band and the other members of her family were 
away at work in the fields, and Nancy was alone, 
except for one little girl. 

She replied, "I never feed the King's men. The 
villains have stolen my chickens and killed my 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 199 

pigs, so that I can hardly feed my own family. I 
haven't anything but that old turkey." 

"Well, that you shall cook for us," said one of 
the Tories; and, raising his gun, he fired at the 
turkey, which fell dead. Another Tory brought it 
to the house, and soon it was clean and ready. 
So Nancy put it on to cook, and sent her little 
daughter to the spring for water. 

"Tell your father and the others to come quickly; 
there are Tories in the house," she whispered to 
the child. 

Soon the turkey was ready to eat. The Tories 
began drinking and singing, and boasted of their 
exploits in killing several Patriots a few days be- 
fore. Nancy recognized the names of these victims 
as persons she knew, and her blood was hot with 
rage. The soldiers had stacked their guns in one 
corner, and now drew near the table, ready for 
the meal. Nancy waited on them, frequently pass- 
ing between them and their guns in the corner. 

Suddenly, the brave woman seized one of the 
weapons, and pointed it at the party. They sprang 
up in terror, while she swore she would shoot the 
first man that moved a foot. One of them started 
forward, and, true to her word, she fired and 
killed him where he stood. 

By this time the little girl had returned from 



200 AMERICA FIRST 



the spring, and Nancy called out to her, "Go, call 
your father and the neighbors. Tell them I have 
caught some base Tories." The child ran to the 
fields, while the men, in alarm, tried to seize the 
intrepid woman. She fired again, and another man 
fell badly wounded. 

Before the others could escape, Nancy's husband 
and some of the neighbors rushed in, and bound 
the Tories hand and foot. The neighbors would 
have shot them, but Nancy said, "No! shooting 
is too good for the base murderers. They must 
hang for their crimes!" 

This was enough. It was not long before they 
were all hanging to a tree, which was pointed out 
to passersby, for fifty years afterwards, as the 
spot where Nancy Hart avenged the death of her 
countrymen. 



MAD ANTHONY CAPTURES STONY 

POINT 

Anthony Wayne was about thirty years old. 
He was a handsome young officer in Washington's 
army, and fond of fine uniforms and military 
equipment. He was a very dandy in his appear- 
ance, but, when his spirit was aroused in battle, he 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 201 

forgot all his fiiie manners in reckless daring. His 
men spoke of liim as "Mad Anthony." 

Indeed, he was about the hardest fighter of the 
Revolution. In battle, his eye would blaze with 
fury, and his face flashed with the glory of con- 
flict that was wonderful to see. He was afraid 
of nothing, and counted his own life as naught 
when it came to winning a fight. 

Washington's army was in New Jersey, near 
New York. The British held a large part of the 
Hudson River, and had fortified Stony Point, only 
thirteen miles below West Point. This position con- 
trolled the King's Ferry, where troops and supplies 
were ferried across to support the Patriot army. 

The fort w^as on a bluff nearly two hundred feet 
high, jutting out into the river, a half mile from 
shore. A marshy neck crossed by a causeway 
separated it from the mainland. The top of this 
rocky point was strongly protected with cannon 
that defended it in all directions. 

Along the causeway, and in the marshes, the 
British had driven logs, sharpened on ends which 
pointed outwards so as to form what, in military 
terms, is called an "abatis." These logs were sup- 
posed to make a barrier that would stop the ad- 
vance of enemy troops long enough for the guns 
of the fort to annihilate them completely. 



202 AMERICA FIRST 



Washington decided to attack Stony Point, and 
chose "Mad Anthony" for the purpose. He rode 
out, one day, to look over the situation. 

"There is no one who can take that fort better 
than Wayne," said Washington, "but it requires 
all his skill and daring. Ten minutes warning to 
those troops in the fort would blast all our hopes." 

The Commander-in-Chief gave orders to kill 
every dog within three miles of the camp, in order 
to prevent them from barking when the time came 
for the Americans to approach the fort. He also 
ordered all stragglers arrested or kept away. 

One Captain reported: "Arrested the widow 
Calhoun, going to the enemy with chickens and 
vegetables." 

In this way did Washington plan. And now it 
was time for Wayne to act! 

About thirteen hundred picked men were chosen 
for the attack. They were lined up for inspection, 
with orders to be in marching trim, fully armed 
and provisioned, "fresh-shaved and powdered." 
After inspection, they marched away, instead of 
returning to camp. Not one of them had an idea 
of his mission, or of the danger of the enterprise 
upon which he had started. 

"If any soldier loads his musket, or attempts 
to fire, or tries to shirk his duty in face of danger, 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 203 

he must be put to death by the officer nearest 
him. This is a struggle in which I take no risks, 
and absolute quiet is necessary," were the com- 
mands of Wayne. 

One man started to load his gun. The officer 
called sharply to him to desist, and gave him 
warning. "I cannot fight without firing my gun," 
replied the soldier, and continued to put in the 
powder charge. The officer then ran his sword 
through the soldier's body, and left him dead on 
the road. He had to do this, so as to save the 
lives of the other men, and to carry out success- 
fully the plan of attack. 

All the hot July afternoon the men marched 
along the rough roads, through swamps and ravines, 
until they came to a place about a mile from 
Stony Point. Not a sound was heard. The sol- 
diers sank upon the ground, and, in silence, ate 
their supper of bread and meat. 

Then Wayne passed the word — what he in- 
tended to do. It was the first notice the troops 
had had of what was before them. It seemed a 
hopeless task to attack a strong fort, across a 
swamp, protected by an abatis of heavy logs. 
But "Mad Anthony" was to lead the charge, and 
Patriots were his soldiers. 

At half -past eleven came the quiet order: "Fall 



204 AIVIERICA FIRST 



in! Forward march!" Every man pinned a piece 
of white paper or cloth to his cap, that he might 
be distinguished in the darkness from the enemy, 
and not be killed by his own men. Not a sound 
was uttered, every footstep was quiet, and not an 
equipment rattled as the men started forward. 
The watchword was "The fort is our own." 

An old negro, named Pompey, who had been 
selling fruit to the British, was engaged as guide. 
He knew the short cuts through the woods, and 
the road across the swamp. At midnight, the 
silent band of Americans reached the edge of the 
swamp, and waded in. 

"Steady! Make no noise! Let the men with 
axes go first, so as to cut down the abatis. The 
rest of you rush in and follow me," were the 
whispered orders Wayne passed down the column. 

The water was waist deep in places, for the tide 
was in. The marsh was six hundred feet across. 
The night was dark, and the danger very great. 
The column moved as if on parade. Yard by yard 
they silently crossed the marsh, and, at last, found 
themselves close to the outer defenses of the 
British. 

"Halt! Who goes there.'*" cried a British sen- 
try. No answer from the steadily advancing Pa- 
triots! The sentry, catching sight of troops, fired 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 205 

his gun for a general alarm. The sleeping British 
leaped from their beds. The "long roll" was 
sounded, calhng the men to fall in and repel an 
attack. They were taken by complete surprise, and 
the battle was on before th^y had time to think. 

The Patriot axmen rushed forward, and cut 
away the logs, while the bullets whizzed over their 
heads. The main columns of Americans climbed 
over the Avail and formed in line on the other side. 
A small attacking party made a detour around the 
fort, and opened a brisk fire on that side. The 
British guns were turned upon them, and a British 
force was sent down to engage them, thinking they 
were the main body of the enemy. But the small 
attacking force withdrew, leading off their prisoners, 
while the main body of the Patriots rushed in and 
took the fort, crying out, "The fort is our own! 
The fort is our own!" 

Wayne was shot in the head by a musket ball, 
and fell to the ground, blood covering his face. 
"Take me into the fort and let me die at the head 
of my troops," he said to the officer near him. It 
turned out to be only a flesh wound, and so "Mad 
Anthony" was able to enter the battle again. 

The bayonet did its grim work of death. The 
British fled, crying out, "Mercy! Mercy! Quar- 
ter! Quarter! We surrender!" 



206 AMERICA FIRST 



In thirty minutes it was all over, and Stony 
Point was captured. Only one British soldier es- 
caped. He leaped into the river, and swam a mile 
to a British ship, and here he told of the exploits 
of "Mad Anthony Wayne and his terrible men." 



THE EXECUTION OF MAJOR ANDRE 

Major Andre was a British officer, who bargained 
with Benedict Arnold for the surrender of West 
Point. The agreement was made at a meeting 
between Arnold and Andre, and would have re- 
sulted in serious calamity to the American forces, 
if Andre had not been captured on his way to 
New York, and the tell-tale papers discovered 
hidden in his boots. 

Andre was declared a spy. The fact that he 
was a brave young officer, whom every one ad- 
mired, could not save him from the fate of all 
spies, caught within the enemy's lines. He was 
tried by court-martial, and condemned to be 
hanged. Andre had hoped that the Court would 
order him to be shot, as befitted his rank, but this 
was not to be! 

When the time arrived for his execution, he re- 
ceived the news without emotion. All present were 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 207 

deeply affected, but Andre kept a cheerful coun- 
tenance, and talked in his usual manner with those 
around him. His servant came into the room, and 
Andre noticed tears in his eyes. Seeing this, he 
exclaimed, "You must not give way thus. Leave 
me till you can show yourself more manly." 

His breakfast was sent him from the table of 
General '-Washington. Every day during his con- 
finement this had been done. He ate as usual; 
then shaved and dressed. Placing his hat on the 
table, he said to the officers, "I am ready at any 
moment, gentlemen, to wait on you." 

The fatal hour came at last! A large body of 
troops was paraded, and an important gathering 
of citizens assembled. Many generals and field 
officers were present. Washington did not attend. 
The scene w^as solemn, and gloom pervaded all 
ranks. Major Andre walked from the stone house, 
where he had been confined, between two soldiers, 
showing the greatest dignity and composure. 

He smiled as he approached the scaffold, and 
nodded to several acquaintances as he passed them. 
"VSTien he saw that he was to be hanged, and not 
shot, he was visibly moved, and said, "I am recon- 
ciled to my death, and shall bear it as a brave 
man should, but I had hoped to be shot as a sol- 
dier rather than hanged as a felon." 



208 AMERICA FIRST 



As soon as things were in readiness, he stepped 
quickly into the wagon, drawn under the gallows, 
and took two white handkerchiefs from his pocket. 
He then grasped the rope that hung from the gal- 
lows, and slipped the noose around his own neck. 
He gave one handkerchief to the provost-marshal 
to bind his arms behind him, and, with the other, 
he bandaged his own eyes. 

"It will be but a momentary pang," he said to 
those around him. "I pray you to bear me wit- 
ness that I meet my fate like a brave man." 

The wagon was then drawn from under him, 
and, in a few moments, he had ceased struggling 
and was dead. He was dressed in his royal regi- 
mentals and boots, and was buried at the foot of 
the gallows. Thus died, in the bloom of his life, 
the gallant Major Andre, pride of the Royal 
Army ! 



HOW GENERAL SCIHT\TER WAS 

SAVED 

During the latter part of the Revolution, the 
war was carried on mainly in the South. Still, the 
people of the North were frequently attacked by 
parties of Indians and Tories, who descended upon 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 209 

the small towns and outlying houses, killing the 
inmates and carrying off all the plunder they could 
find. 

At this time, General Schuyler was living in his 
own home, near Albany, just outside the wall, or 
stockade. It was a tempting bait for jthe Tories 
and Indians. A party of them resolved to capture 
the General and his family, and to plunder the 
house. 

WTien the marauders were on the way, they 
found out from a Dutch farmer, whom they had 
taken, that the General's house was guarded by 
six soldiers, three by day and three by night. 
They told the Dutchman they would punish him 
if he mentioned seeing them, or if, in any way, 
he warned the General of their approach. They 
then let the Dutchman go; and, as soon as they 
were out of sight, he ran as fast as he could to 
tell the General of the attack. 

The Schuyler family were all seated in the wide 
hall downstairs. The doors and windows were 
open, for it was a hot day in August. The guard 
was outside under the shade of the trees. Nobody 
was suspicious of danger. In fact, the General was 
dozing in his chair. 

A servant entered the back door, and said, 
"There is a man outside who wishes to speak to 



210 AMERICA FIRST 



the General." The General ordered him to be 
shown in. The Dutchman entered, and told of 
his meeting with the party of Indians. In fact, 
hardly had he delivered his message before a 
scuffle in the yard showed to the dismayed family 
that the enemy had actually arrived, overpowered 
the guard, and bound them hand and foot. 

Schuyler hastily barred the doors and windows, 
and retired with his family to the upper rooms. 
The Indians approached the house, and tried the 
doors. Then, running to a window, they smashed 
the panes of glass, and made an entrance to the 
house. Schuyler, up-stairs, with his gun in hand, 
stood ready to defend himself and his family. 
Around him were his negro slaves, each one with 
some kind of weapon. iVt the other end of the 
room, the women were huddled in fear, weeping 
and praying. In the mind of each arose the hor- 
rible tales of Indian cruelty, so common in that 
day. 

Just as the Indians entered, Mrs. Schuyler cried 
out, "My baby! My baby! I have left him down- 
stairs in his cradle." She made a rush for the 
stairs. Her agony was extreme, and only the 
strong arms of her husband kept her from going 
dow^n amidst the savages, to snatch her child from 
death. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 21 1 

General Schuyler held her, and told her it would 
be death for both her and the baby, if she should 
carry out her purpose. As they were thus hesitat- 
ing, one of their daughters said, " I will go after 
my little brother. They will not see me." With 
that, she slipped past her mother and father, and, 
in a moment, was down in the hall. 

It was dark because the doors and shutters had 
been closed. The Indians were in the dining-room, 
devouring food, breaking china and furniture, and 
quarreling over their spoils. The girl darted by 
the open door, and reached the cradle where the 
baby lay asleep. Seizing the child in her arms, 
she started on her way up-stairs, when she was 
discovered by one of the Tories. 

He thought she was a servant-girl, and called 
out to her, "Here, where has your master gone.^" 
The brave girl, half-way up the steps, turned and 
rephed, 

" My master has gone to the town to alarm the 
people. He will be here any moment with some 
troops." 

When General Schuyler heard his daughter make 
this brave retort, he went to an open window up- 
stairs, and fired his pistol several times. He then 
called out in a loud voice, 

"Come on, my brave men! Here they are in- 



212 AMERICA FIRST 



side the house! Surround the buildings, and let 
no one escape." 

He then made his negro slaves put their heads 
out of the windows, and utter loud yells of de- 
fiance. The Indians and Tories recognized Schuy- 
ler's voice, and, hearing all this noise outside, 
thought that surely troops had come to the rescue. 
They broke out of the house more quickly than 
they had broken in, and ran away much faster 
than they had come, pursued by shots from the 
General's rifles, and shouts from his slaves. 

"My brave little girl," said Schuyler to his 
daughter, "you have had courage to do a brave 
deed, and wit enough to get us out of trouble." 



AN INDIAN TRICK THAT FAILED 

The Indians were full of all kinds of devices to 
deceive their enemies; and they would often re- 
sort to many methods to get within striking dis- 
tance of their victims. They could imitate the 
sounds of the forest, the call of birds, the cry of 
wild beasts, the very noises of nature herself; one 
could scarcely tell the difference. 

During the Revolution, a regiment of soldiers 
was so placed that a large guard was needed to 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 213 

protect the main body from surprise. There was 
one special post where sentinels were placed on 
guard, and where a most singular mystery occurred. 
The sentinels were constantly found missing, leav- 
ing no trace behind them, not even firing off their 
guns as an alarm. 

For several successive days, a sentinel was 
placed at this post, and told to give warning of 
the slightest approach of danger. When the time 
came for him to be relieved, there was no sign or 
trace of any one having been on guard. The sen- 
tinel had vanished, leaving the entire regi-ment 
more mystified than ever. 

At first, many of the soldiers thought the sen- 
tinels had deserted, while others thought the In- 
dians were guilty. 

At last, when three men had disappeared in suc- 
cession, — men, whose patriotism and courage were 
not doubted, — the soldiers became stricken with 
superstitious terror. 

"If it w^ere the Indians, our men would have 
fired off their guns, or fought them, or run back 
to camp. We cannot believe they deserted. It 
may be the devil is after us," some of the soldiers 
said. None of them wanted to be assigned to the 
strange post. 

At last, the Colonel declared, " I will ask no 



214 AMERICA FIRST 



man to guard that post against his will. If there 
is any one here who is not afraid, let him come 
with me," 

Only one soldier stepped forward. He saluted 
the Colonel and said, " I will not be taken alive 
by the Indians. I am not a deserter. I do not 
believe the devil has anything to do with it. You 
shall hear from me at the least sound. I will fire 
my gun if a crow chatters or a leaf falls." 

They went to the mysterious post, and the 
Colonel left him standing by a tree, his gun in 
hand and his eyes watching in all directions. He 
was a brave man, but he could hardly keep from 
feeling a sensation of dread, wondering what was 
going to happen to him. 

For an hour nothing occurred. At every rustle 
in the bush the soldier raised his gun, at every 
falling leaf he was ready to fire. He took no 
chances. But, as time wore on, he began to think 
he would escape undisturbed. 

At length he saw, not far away, a hog feeding 
on some acorns. There were plenty of hogs m 
the neighborhood, and especially around the camp. 
He had seen many of them rooting in the ground, 
and had often heard them grunting and munching 
acorns. This hog was Hke all the others, and he 
paid no attention to it. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 215 

In a few minutes the hog began to make his 
way back of the sentinel to a small clump of bushes 
where there were plenty of acorns. He grunted and 
rooted and munched as he went, always getting a 
little nearer the sentinel, of whom he seemed to 
take no notice. Still the soldier thought he was 
just a big hog, and kept his eyes on other sights, 
his ears on other sounds. 

But, as the hog gained the clump of bushes 
back of the post, not more than twenty feet away, 
the sentinel suddenly turned, and thought he saw 
some unusual and ungainly movement on the part 
of the animal. 

"I may as well kill that hog. We need meat 
anyway, and if the camp comes running it will do 
no harm." So saying, the sentinel raised his gun 
and fired at the animal standing sideways towards 
him. The bullet struck him full in the side. 
What was the sentinel's surprise to see the hog 
leap into the air, hear a dreadful Indian yell, and 
then to see a painted savage, with a tomahawk in 
his hand, fall dead at his feet. 

In a Ihort while, the soldier's comrades arrived. 
He showed them the Indian — explanation of the 
mysterious disappearance of the other sentinels. 
The crafty Indian, acting so hke a wild hog that 
no one could fail to be deceived, had gradually ap- 



216 AMERICA FIRST 



proached the sentinels, and, while they were not 
looking, had tomahawked them and borne them 
away before they could cry out or even fire off 
their guns. 



HOW THE NORTHWEST WAS WON 

It was the evening of July 4, 1778, and a merry 
dance Avas taking place at Kaskaskia, in that re- 
gion afterwards known as the state of Illinois. It 
was a gay party, for the people were light-hearted 
and, having little else to do, were passing the 
time in dance. All the village girls were there, 
and most of the citizens and soldiers as well. 
They were dancing away at a happy rate, to the 
music of a fiddle, played by a man who sat on a 
chair. An Indian lay on the floor, watching them 
with sleepy eyes. 

Kaskaskia was a British fort, but most of the 
people who lived there were French. Though the 
war of the Revolution was going on in the East 
and South, the inhabitants of this wilderness fort 
of the West cared little for a conflict that was being 
waged a thousand miles off. They thought them- 
selves secure from attack, for surely no one would 
attempt to travel so great a distance for so small 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 217 

a prize. In this, they were much mistaken, how- 
ever, as we shall see. 

As the dance went on, a tall young man stepped 
into the room, and leaned against the door, watch- 
ing the dancers. He was dressed as a backwoods- 
man, and had evidently come a long and difficult 
way. It was plain that he was not French, and 
that he was a soldier. The Indian was the first to 
see him, and to raise the alarm. His yell broke 
up the dance, and every one gazed upon the stranger 
with fright. The women screamed, the men sprang 
for their guns. The stranger raised his hand, and 
said very quietly, 

"Do not be alarmed. I shall not hurt you. Go 
on with your dance. But remember, you are danc- 
ing under the flag of Virginia, and not under the 
flag of England." 

As he uttered these words, a crowd of Patriots, 
dressed as he was, stepped into the room, seized 
all the guns of the soldiers, and thus occupied the 
fort. The young man's name was John Rogers 
Clark. The fort had been captured without a 
blow or a shot. 

This is how it happened. John Rogers Clark, 
who had been living for some time in Kentucky, 
saw plainly that the English were stirring up the 
Indians of the West for an attack on the American 



218 AMERICA FIRST 



settlements. So he determined to put a stop to 
it. Besides, he wished to capture the western forts 
for his own country. He went to Virginia, and 
asked Patrick Henry, who was then Governor, 

" Give me permission to raise a body of soldiers, 
and march West for the protection of Virginia and 
Kentucky." 

Patrick Henry looked into the brave eyes of 
the young man, and said, "Go, my dear sir, raise 
your companies, and I will make you a Colonel. 
You will do this for the defense of Virginia and 
Kentucky." 

It was not long before Clark had his soldiers, 
and was on his way. They floated down the 
Ohio River, landed fifty miles from Kaskaskia, 
marched through the woods, and entered, as we 
have described, the open and undefended fort. 

This ends the first part of the story. There is a 
second part, however, not so easy as the first. 
Far to the South, on the Wabash River, in what 
is now Indiana, stood another fort, called Vin- 
cennes, one hundred and fifty miles away. This 
was also a French fort, held for the British. Colonel 
Clark wanted to capture Vincennes, as he had cap- 
tured Kaskaskia. He did not have enough men 
to take it by force. So he sent a French priest 
to Vincennes to tell the people that the Americans 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 219 

were their best friends, after all, and to advise 
them to haul down the British flag, and raise the 
American flag in its place. Otherwise, Clark and 
his men would be down on them in short order. 

The French agreed to do as they were ordered, 
and Vincennes became, for the time being, an 
American fort. Thereupon, Clark and his men 
went back to Kentucky, much pleased with the 
success of their expedition. 

But the British were not to be dispossessed of 
their territory so easily. The British Commander 
at Detroit, Colonel Hamilton, marched down to 
Vincennes, took the fort back again, and threatened 
to march upon Kaskaskia and then even into Ken- 
tucky. WTien Clark heard of this, he resolved to 
go at once to Vincennes, recapture the place, and 
hold it! 

It was a terrible task, for winter was at hand. 
The Wabash River had overflowed its banks and, 
for hundreds of square miles, the country was 
under water. Vincennes was in the center of a 
vast shallow lake, or swamp, of freezing water. 
Hamilton thought himself safe until the spring, 
anyhow. 

Clark set out with his men, dressed in hunting 
shirts, with fur caps on their heads, which were 
ornamented with deer or raccoon tails, and carry- 



220 AMERICA FIRST 



ing long rifles. Then came cold days and steady 
rains. Every night they had to build fires to 
warm by, and to dry their clothes. They trudged 
on through the cold water, glad of any little island 
to rest upon or any dry place to sleep. Sometimes 
the water was ankle-deep, then knee-deep, and 
then waist-deep. Still, they went on, knowing 
they must plunge ahead or go back. 

At last, they came within four miles of the fort. 
The water was waist-deep and very cold. "Wade 
in," cried Clark, "and follow me!" Seizing a 
drummer-boy, he placed him on his shoulders and 
told him to beat his drum. Then the brave leader 
plunged into the ice-cold water. With a shout, 
the men followed him. After a few hours' hard 
riding, they crossed the flood, and were before the 
fort of Vincennes. 

Colonel Hamilton was amazed when he saw 
Clark and his men at his very door. "They are 
mad, or else they had wings to cross at such a 
time," he said. But he resolved to defend his fort, 
and the fight began. 

For hours the Kentucky and Virginia riflemen, 
with their unerring aim, poured shot into the loop- 
holes of the fort. They were deadly riflemen, and 
every shot told. At the end of the day, Hamilton 
surrendered, and the flag of England was again 




Wade in," cried Clark, "and follow me!" 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 221 

hauled down. In this way did all that great 
Northwest Territory pass into possession of the 
Americans. Out of it the great states of Ohio, In- 
diana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of 
Minnesota were afterwards formed. 



BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Benjamin Franklin was the youngest member of 
a family of seventeen children. His father was a 
poor man, who made his living by boiling soap 
and making candles. He went to school barely 
two years, though all his life he was a hard stu- 
dent. There was never a boy more fond of books 
than he; he borrowed them from anybody who 
would lend them to him, and, oftentimes, sat up 
all night reading. In this way, he became one of 
the most learned men in the country. 

He began life by working for his brother in a 
printing office, where he soon became an expert 
tjpe-setter. He read all the articles printed in his 
brother's paper, and decided he could write better 
ones. He slipped his own articles under the door 
of the printing office, without signing them. His 
brother was so pleased with them that he printed 
every one. One day, he said, "Ben, whoever 



222 AMERICA FIRST 



writes these articles has plenty of sense. I wish I 
knew who he was." But Franklin never told his 
secret. 

After a while, Franklin and his brother had a 
quarrel, and they separated. Franklin tried to 
get work in Boston, but was refused everywhere, 
because his brother had sent the printers word 
not to hire him. Then he went to New York, 
but with no better success. Finally, he made his 
way to Philadelphia in search of his fortune. 

He arrived with only a few pennies to his name, 
his clothing rumpled and soiled, and his pockets 
stuffed with his extra stockings and shirt. It was 
a most unpromising beginning for a great career. 
Many people turned in the street to look at him, 
for he was an awkward country boy. 

Being hungry, he went into a baker's shop, 
and bought several rolls. He held them in his 
hands, and went along the street, munching one 
after another. A young girl, standing in the door- 
way of her home, laughed at him as he passed by, 
for he was indeed a comical sight. Her name was 
Deborah Reed. Years afterwards, she became the 
wife of this poor boy. 

After several years of hard work in printing 
offices, and wandering back to Boston and even 
once to London, Franklin finally settled down in 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 223 

Philadelphia, in business for himself. He began 
printing a newspaper, which w^as the brightest 
journal in America. He also published a book 
each year, called "Poor Richard's Almanac," full 
of wise and witty sayings, as well as containing 
useful information. 

Franklin was one of the most practical men of 
his day. He had many good ideas for the public 
welfare. He established a public library in Phila- 
delphia. He invented the open Franklin stove, 
which stored up much of the heat that once was 
wasted up the chimney. He suggested paving the 
streets, in order to save the wear and tear on 
vehicles, and to gain more speed in going about. 
He also proposed lighting the streets with lamps 
at night in order to help belated citizens find 
their way home. 

Every one has seen the flash of lightning and 
heard the roar of thunder. For a long time, 
people did not know that the lightning in the sky 
and the electricity made by an electric machine 
were the same thing. And nobody could think of 
a w^ay to find out, until Benjamin Franklin under- 
took the problem. 

After studying the electric machine, he came to 
the conclusion that lightning and electricity were 
the same in nature. To test it, he made a large 



224 AMERICA FIRST 



kite of silk, tying the string to the metal frame. 
The part of the string near his hand was tied to 
a silk ribbon, and a metal key was fastened just 
above the ribbon. The silk was used to keep the 
electricity from passing into Franklin's body. 

Franklin supposed that the electricity would 
come down the wet kite string when it rained 
during a thunder-storm, and would collect on the 
key. He calculated that it could not reach him 
because of the ribbon in his hand. Silk, he knew, 
was a non-conductor of electricity. He waited for 
a rainy night when the lightning was flashing. He 
did not wish to be bothered by people watching 
him in the daytime. The kite shot up in the air, 
and soon was lost to sight in the darkness. Frank- 
lin let out the string as far as it would go, so as 
to be sure the kite was well up in the clouds. He 
held on to the silk ribbon, and stood under a shed 
so as to keep off the rain. He had a lamp with 
him to watch the kite string and the key. 

The lightning flashed, the rain came down, the 
string was wet, and the kite was pulling hard in 
the strong wind. Franklin held on to the silk rib- 
bon with one hand, and carefully put out his other 
hand to touch the key at the end of the string 
beyond the ribbon. Instantly, he felt a shock 
that almost knocked him down. He tried it sev- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 225 

eral times, until he was afraid to do so again. 
He then knew that he had drawn the Hghtning 
from the clouds, and had proved it to be the 
same as the electricity made by the electric 
machine. 

One day, he had his kite in the air, and was 
trying various experiments with the electricity on 
the string, when he thought he would see what 
effect it would have on a turkey. He walked care- 
fully around, following the turkey, but could not 
get sufficiently close to the bird for the string to 
touch it. At last he came near enough, as he 
thought, but, just as he reached over to bring the 
string to the turkey's head, his own hand touched 
the key, and, before he knew what had happened, 
he w^as loiocked down and nearly stunned. 

When he recovered from his surprise and shock, 
he said, "Instead of killing a turkey, I came near 
killing a goose." 

It was Franklin's experiments with his kite that 
led him to invent the lightning-rod which protects 
our homes during a thunder-storm. 

Franklin became one of our greatest American 
statesman, noted for his wisdom and learning. He 
was sent abroad to gain the friendship of France 
in the War of the Revolution. When he appeared 
at Court, dressed in his plain, old-fashioned way. 



226 AMERICA FIRST 



with his long, gray coat, big spectacles, and fur 
cap, he attracted a great deal of attention. The 
people soon learned to admire his humor and good 
sense, and everywhere he was greeted with en- 
thusiasm. 

After the Revolution, he helped form the Con- 
stitution of the United States, though he was over 
eighty years of age at the time. WTien he died, 
four years afterwards, it was said that twenty 
thousand people attended his funeral. 



NOLICHUCKY JACK 

John Sevier rode over the mountains from Vir- 
ginia to see what kind of home he could find in 
the new settlements for himself and his family. 
Alone through woods and across the steep moun- 
tains he made the journey. At last, he found the 
very place his adventurous spirit liked, and there 
he brought his wife and children to join the settlers 
on the Watauga River, in what is now the State 
of Tennessee. 

Life was rough in this pioneer settlement. James 
Robertson commanded the fort, and John Sevier, 
after a while, became his Lieutenant. Close by, 
clustered the cabins of the settlers, with their gar- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN mSTORY 227 

dens and fields of corn. The soil was fertile, the 
woods were full of game, the rivers had fish in 
abundance, and the Indians, at first, were friendly. 
All went well with the Watauga settlement until 
the Revolution. 

Then the British began to arm the Indians with 
guns, and to reward them for bringing in scalps 
and captives. The peace of the little frontier 
settlement was disturbed, and it looked as if the 
savages intended to make a general attack upon 
these pioneers. 

One day the cry went through the village, 
''Indians! Indians! They are on the war path. 
Everybody to the fort!" 

The men and women hastily gathered behind the 
barred gate, and prepared for defense. There were 
forty or fifty resolute men, well armed and on 
their guard. They were not altogether unpre- 
pared, for a friendly squaw had already warned 
them to be on the lookout for danger. 

In the early dawn, the savages crept out of the 
forest, and stole up to the fort. But the settlers 
had kept watch during the night, and were not 
to be surprised. TOien the Indians were within 
reach of the guns, through the loopholes a deadly 
fire was opened on them, and many were killed as 
they tried to pass the open ground. Then thej^ 



228 AMERICA FIRST 



escaped back into the woods, glad to be out of 
reach of the aim of the Colonists. 

The stockade was too strong to be taken by- 
assault, so the savages decided to starve the 
settlers out. • Three weeks passed, with the painted 
warriors lurking in the woods, outside of danger, 
but ready to descend on any one who dared leave 
the protection of the fort. Food ran short and 
rations were reduced to parched corn — all they 
had. 

The Colonists became very tired of confinement. 
Sometimes the savages would disappear for hours 
at a time, and then they would return and fill the 
air with hideous sounds. The settlers grew weary 
of inaction, and, from time to time, some one would 
venture forth, heedless of warning. In this way 
three or four men were shot by the Indians, and 
one boy was carried off and burned at the stake. 
One woman was also captured. 

The water in the fort was giving out. So one 
of the young women, named Kate Sherrill, took a 
pitcher and went to the river to fill it with water. 
No Indians had been seen for several hours, and 
she thought she was safe. She was a tall, graceful, 
and beautiful girl, and very courageous. After she 
had gone some distance from the fort, several sav- 
ages sprang out of the forest and dashed toward her. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 229 

She knew her danger was great, and turned 
sw^iftly to flee for safety. She was a good runner, 
and her hfe was at stake. On came the blood- 
thirsty savages, with tomahawks uphfted ready 
to strike. On sped the brave girl, swift as a deer. 
Those in the fort cried out in terror, *'Run to the 
palisade! Never mind the gate! We will pull you 
over!" 

Guns were leveled at the pursuing foe; but they 
escaped the flying bullets. The cries of the men 
at the fort did not stop them; they sped all the 
faster after the flying feet of the girl. 

At last she reached the palisade, as the nearest 
Indian was ten feet away. She made one desperate 
leap, caught the top pickets with her hands, and 
was pulled over the top just as a bullet killed her 
pursuer in his tracks. The other Indians sullenly 
returned to the forest. 

As Kate Sherrill fell over the pickets, completely 
exhausted, she landed in the arms of John Sevier. 

The end of the story is that John Sevier, whose 
wife had died some time before, fell in love with 
the beautiful girl whom he had saved by his lucky 
shot, and persuaded her to marry him. 

The Indians gave up the siege after a while, and 
returned to their villages. This left the Watauga 
settlement in peace for a time, but the friendly 



230 AMERICA FIRST 



relations between the Indians and the white men 
were not restored for several years. John Sevier 
was constantly leading war parties against the ma- 
rauding savages. It is said that he fought thirty- 
five battles, and was known as the greatest Indian 
fighter in the southwest. 

Sevier became the leading man of the Colony. 
He lived in a big, rambling, one-story house, on 
Nolichucky Creek. It consisted of two separate 
wings, connected by a covered porch. In one part 
he lived with his family; the other part was given 
up to his guests. He kept open house for every- 
body. 

Here, to all comers, his hospitality was abun- 
dant. Rarely was he without friends who sat 
around his plentiful table, gathered by the big 
open fires in the winter, or on the wide porch in 
the summer, and talked over the battles with the 
Indians, and the coming of new settlers into the 
country. 

At weddings, or on other great occasions, Sevier 
was accustomed to gather all the people of the 
community together, and to feast them at a great 
barbecue, in which an ox was roasted whole over 
a fire, and basted with the richest sauce. The 
board tables were loaded with forest game and 
field produce, and the people drank cider. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 231 

In this way, Sevier became greatly loved by 
everybody. He was known far and wide as Noli- 
chucky Jack. His wife retained her beauty and 
grace, and was called "Bonnie Kate." Even the 
Indians grew to like the stern old fighter, for he 
was always fair with them, though at times he 
punished them severely. 

Everywhere in Tennessee, he was the idol of the 
people. \^lien word came that "Chucky Jack" 
was in town, crowds went out to meet him and 
shake his hand. When Tennessee became a state, 
he was elected the first Governor, and kept that 
office for twelve years. 

When he was eighty years old, he headed a 
party of surveyors to mark the boundary line 
between the State of Georgia and the Indian lands 
of Tennessee. The labor was too great for his 
worn body, and he died in his tent, surrounded 
by a few soldiers and Indians. 

To this day, the people of Tennessee tell to 
their children the story of how Nolichucky Jack 
fought the Indians and the British, and how he 
helped build up their great State. 



232 AMERICA FIRST 



ELI WHITNEY INVENTS THE 
COTTON GIN 

When we read about the milHons of bales of 
white cotton raised in the South every year, it is 
hard to beheve that cotton itself w^as considered 
only a garden plant until after the Revolution. A 
plantation of thirty acres of cotton near Savannah 
yielded what was then a very large crop. Just 
after the war with Great Britain, eight bags of 
cotton were shipped to England, aiid were seized 
by the Custom House officials, on the ground that 
so much cotton could not be raised in the United 
States. 

The cotton which grows in the uplands of the 
South is known as short staple cotton, and its lint 
adheres very closely to the seed. At first this lint 
had to be picked off by hand, which was a slow 
process. A man and his family could hardly clean 
more than eight or ten pounds a day. In case of 
a large crop, there were not hands enough to sepa- 
rate the lint from the seed. Therefore, cotton was 
not profitable, and, in consequence, not much of 
it was raised. In the year 1791, only three hun- 
dred and ninety-one bales were exported from the 
United States. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 233 

In 1792, a young man, named Eli Whitney, was 
living in Georgia, at the home of Mrs. Nathanael 
Greene, a few miles from Savannah. He was born 
in Massachusetts, and had just graduated from 
Yale College. He had come to Savannah to prac- 
tice law, and to eke out his income by teaching 
school. Mrs. Greene had invited him to live at 
her plantation, and to help her with the education 
of her children. 

WTiitney had always show^n a certain skill in 
making useful articles, and in mending broken 
things. Nothing w^as needed around the Greene 
house or farm that Whitney could not make; nothing 
that he could not fix. Mrs. Greene said to him one 
day, "Mr. Whitney, I believe you can make anything. 
Sooner or later, you will hit upon a fortune." 

One day some visitors expressed their regret 
that it was such a hard matter to clean the upland 
cotton; they said it was a pity there w^as not a 
machine for that purpose. 

Mrs. Greene repHed, "There is a young man 
here who can make anything. His name is Eh 
WTiitney. I believe he could invent a machine 
for cleaning cotton." 

Whitney was sent for, and listened to stories of 
the trouble the Southern farmers were having with 
the cotton seed. He had never seen any cotton 



234 AMERICA FIRST 



up to that time, but he cheerfully undertook to 
work up some scheme. He watched the seed- 
pickers, and brought some of the ripe cotton-bolls 
to his room, where he began to pick out the seed 
himself. He soon thought of a plan for a machine, 
and set to work building it. It was a hard task, 
for he had to make his own tools, wire, and nails. 

\Miitney toiled for several months on his inven- 
tion, and at last had ready for its trial test his 
^ cotton engine, or cotton-gin, as it is called for 
short. It was a simple device, consisting of a re- 
volving cylinder, covered with short teeth that 
passed through a stationary comb. The teeth 
caught the lint, and dragged it through the comb, 
leaving the seed behind. It was very crude, but 
even this first gin could do more work than twenty 
men. All the machines made since that day have 
adhered to the same idea, though the modern ones 
are a great improvement on the ones first made. 

Mrs. Greene and another friend were the only 
ones allowed to see Whitney's first gin. They 
were so delighted when they witnessed how fast 
this little hand-turning machine could clean the 
seed, that they could not keep the secret. Others 
soon heard of it, and one night Whitney's shop 
w^as broken open, and his model machine was stolen 
and carried away. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 235 

This was a great blow to Whitney, for, before 
he could make a new one, and get it patented, 
other machines, based on his invention, were in 
operation. In after years, this gave him a great 
deal of trouble, and, in fact, kept him from mak- 
ing a fortune out of his gin. 

A patent was secured for the Wiitney cotton- 
gin in 1794. Soon, others began to claim that 
they had made gins before Whitney's appeared. 
Many lawsuits began to dispute Whitney's rights, 
and the juries did not give the poor inventor much 
satisfaction. In fact, he spent much money, with 
httle benefit to himself. 

At any rate, the world knows that Whitney in- 
vented the cotton-gin. As soon as gins could be 
bought, the farmers began to plant cotton plenti- 
fully. By using the gin, they could clean a thou- 
sand pounds a day, instead of only eight or ten 
pounds, as before. Everybody planted cotton, land 
was cleared for cultivation, slaves were bought to 
raise the crop, machinery was made to help the 
farmer, and a great industry was opened to the 
people of the South, through the genius of this 
young man. He had studied the needs of the situ- 
ation, and had applied his good sense to solving 
the difficulties. 



236 AlVIERICA FIRST 



THOIMAS JEFFERSON 

Thomas Jefferson was born near Charlottesville, 
Virginia, April 13, 1743. His father was a sturdy 
backwoods surveyor, of giant size and strength, 
whom his son always remembered with pride and 
veneration. His mother belonged to one of the 
prominent families of Virginia, and from her young 
Jefferson inherited his love for nature, music, and 
books. 

Jefferson's father o^^^led a farm of nearly two 
thousand acres, on which he had thirty slaves; 
he raised large crops of wheat and tobacco. He 
was a stern, though kind, just, and generous man. 
He often said to his son, "Never ask another to 
do for you what you can do for yourself." He 
died when Thomas was fourteen years of age. 

From early childliood, Jefferson was a bright 
boy. He had his mother's gentle and thoughtful 
disposition, and, by nature, took readily to read- 
ing. His love of outdoor sports saved him from 
overstudy. He became a keen hunter, was a dead 
shot with a rifle, a fine dancer, and rode a horse 
with great skill. 

He entered AVilliam and ]\Iary College, at 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 237 

Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia, when he was 
seventeen years of age. The college stood at one 
end of the main street, the old capitol at the 
other. On the same street there was situated an 
inn, known as Raleigh Tavern, in which was a 
room called "The Apollo," used as a dancing-hall. 
Here Jefferson was one of the leaders. He was 
described as a tall, thin young student, "with red 
hair, a freckled face, and pointed features," whom 
everybody liked, and who was brilliant at the 
college. 

After graduating, he began to study law. When 
he became twenty-one years of age, he celebrated 
the event by planting an avenue of trees near his 
home. Some of those trees are still standing, a 
memorial to his love of nature and his desire to 
make things beautiful. 

Among the friends of Jefferson, at this time, 
was a jovial young fellow, noted for his "mimicry, 
practical jokes, and dancing." Nobody thought 
he amounted to much, for he was most always 
frolicking. He and Jefferson became bosom friends, 
and spent much of their time together. They saw 
in each other qualities of mind of which the world 
did not yet know. 

One day, while Jefferson was standing at the 
door of the capitol, a member of the House of 



238 AMERICA FIRST 



Burgesses was delivering a most eloquent address. 
Everybody was amazed at the wonderful oratory 
of the man. Jefferson recognized him as his friend, 
Patrick Henry, who was making his famous speech 
against the Stamp Act. 

Jefferson never forgot the scene. The sublime 
words that poured from Henry's lips took his 
breath away, and he listened as one enraptured. 
He resolved, from that moment, that he too would 
serve his country, and at once redoubled his stu- 
dious habits, often spending as long as fifteen hours 
a day over his books. The result was, Jefferson 
became one of the most accomplished scholars in 
America. He was a brilliant mathematician, and 
knew five languages besides his own. 

At the age of twenty-four, Jefferson began to 
practice law. His voice was not strong, and he 
was never a good speaker. His manner was hesi- 
tating and embarrassed, and his ideas did not find 
easy expression in spoken words. But he was a 
great writer and thinker, and, in a few years, he 
was known as the best lawyer in Virginia. 

Jefferson was also a farmer. He loved to look 
over his broad fields and to attend to his growing 
crops. He once said, "No occupation is so delight- 
ful to me as the culture of the earth, and no cul- 
ture comparable to that of a garden." 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY * 239 

He delighted in experimenting with new things, 
and imported a large number of trees and shrubs 
to beautify the grounds of his home which he 
named "Monticello." He was as proud of being 
a successful farmer as he was of being a great 
lawyer. 

Jefferson wrote the rules which he considered 
essential for a practical person to follow: 

1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can 

do to-day. 

2. Never trouble another for what you can do 

yourself. 

3. Never spend your money before you have it. 

4. Never buy what you do not want because 

it is cheap. 

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, or 

cold. 

6. We never repent of having eaten too little. 

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. 

8. How much pain we have suffered from the 

evils that never happened. 

9. Take things always by their smooth handle. 
10. When angry count ten before you speak: if 

very angry count a hundred. 
His manners were plain and simple. "WTien he 
was President of the United States, he did not 
stand aloof from the people, as other great men of 



240 * AMERICA FIRST 



the day did, but he encouraged everybody to be 
on famihar terms with him. He did not have the 
splendid parties and balls at the Wliite House that 
other Presidents had, but lived quietly and with- 
out much display. 

Jefferson's great fame lies in the fact that he 
wi'ote the Declaration of Independence. He was 
then thirty-three years of age, and one of the 
youngest members of the Continental Congress. It 
is among the greatest of our national documents. 
He secured legislation in Virginia, exempting taxa- 
tion for the support of any church, and was the 
founder of the University of Virginia. 

At "Monticello," he entertained with lavish hos- 
pitality, sometimes having as many as fifty guests 
in his house at one time. Some of these visitors 
stayed for months, imposing on his hospitality, 
with the result that in his old age he was much 
reduced in his circumstances. 



THE BURNING OF THE PHILADELPHIA 

For many years the Moors, in Africa, were 
pirates, and preyed upon vessels in the Mediter- 
ranean. The weaker nations of Europe agreed to 
pay tribute annually, if these pirates would not 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 241 

molest tliem on the seas. Those nations that did 
not pay suffered dreadfully in consequence. The 
United States paid tribute for a while, but grew 
tired of it, and declared war against Tripoli, the 
boldest of these piratical countries. 

During the war which followed, an American 
vessel, named the Philadelphia, while pursuing an 
enemy craft, ran aground on a reef, and was cap- 
tured by the Tripolitans, who floated her and re- 
fitted her for service in their own navy. She lay 
in the harbor, a beautiful and tantalizing sight to 
the American vessels just outside the range of the 
guns of the fort that protected her. 

Lieutenant Stephen Decatur volunteered to cap- 
ture or destroy the Philadelphia, with the aid of a 
recently captured vessel, called a "ketch," which 
was named the Mastico, but had been rechristened 
the Intrepid. He had a crew of seventy -six men, 
and one night in July, 1804, he slowly drifted into 
the harbor of Tripoli on his perilous adventure. 

The ketch, which was innocent enough as it 
made its way slowly along, looked like a belated 
coaster making its way into the harbor. All the 
men, except about a dozen sailors, were lying on 
the decks, hidden from view. The moon had set, 
and the lights of the town gave a dim outline to the 
big ship toward which they were purposely drifting. 



242 AMERICA FIRST 



en 



At last, the gliding ketch came close to the 
Philadelphia, upon whose decks soldiers and sailors 
were plainly visible. An officer aboard hailed the 
ketch in the Tripolitan tongue, and inquired, 

WTiat vessel is that, and where are you from?" 
'This is the Mastico, from Malta," was the reply 
in the same language. 

*' Be careful or you will run afoul of us," was 
the warning. 

To this the ketch replied, "We have lost our 
anchors in a gale, and should like to tie up to 
you for the night." 

The Tripolitan agreed to this, not suspecting for 
a moment that the ketch was otherwise tlian rep- 
resented. The Moorish soldiers looked on lazily, 
and with idle curiosity. As the ketch came down, 
a boat was lowered with a line that soon was 
made fast to the forechains of the frigate. An- 
other boat from the frigate was lowered to take a 
line from the stem of the ketch. Thus it was pro- 
posed to tie the two boats together. 

When all was made fast, the American sailors 
slowly drew the ketch closer and closer to the side 
of the frigate. Suddenly, the officers of the frig- 
ate, seeing the anchors of the ketch still aboard, 
took alarm and cried aloud to cut her loose. It 
was too late. In a moment, grappling irons had 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 243 

fastened the two boats, and all the men aboard 
the ketch were swarming with drawn swords over 
the side of the frigate. 

It was short work to disperse the crew of the 
frigate, most of whom leaped into the water and 
began swimming for the shore. In ten minutes, 
the Philadelphia w^as again in the hands of her 
former owners, and not a Moor was left on board 
alive. 

There was no chance to carry the vessel off, 
since her sails were not set, and there was almost 
no wind. Besides, it would be only a few minutes 
before the swimmers would reach the shore and 
give the alarm. Therefore, Decatur determined to 
set fire to the frigate, and to escape before armed 
boats could come to the rescue and defeat his 
purpose. 

It took but a few minutes to spread fire from 
the hold to other places of the dry ship. The men 
barely had time to escape from the decks before 
vast volumes of smoke were issuing from the port 
holes, and the Philadelphia was doomed. The In- 
trepid now swung clear of the burning vessel, and 
left her to her fate. The men on board gave a 
great cheer as the flames burst forth to the rigging. 
Soon the boat was one mass of flames, from hull to 
peak, lighting the entire harbor with a deep red glow. 



244 AMERICA FIRST 



In spite of firing from the shore batteries and 
from several armed vessels, the hitrepid made her 
way out of the harbor, impelled by sweeps in the 
hands of the crew, and aided by a light wind. In 
a short time, Decatur had joined his American 
fleet, and was greeted with congratulations for his 
daring exploit. 



THE EXPEDITION OF LE\^TS AND 

CLARK 

The purchase from France, in 1803, of the great 
territory between the Mississippi River and the 
Rocky Mountains, known as Louisiana, gave to 
the United States a vast domain almost unknown 
to the white man. 

At that time, there were but two large towns 
in the whole area. New Orleans had, perhaps, 
eight or ten thousand wooden houses. The streets 
were dirty and ill-paved. The population num- 
bered eight or ten thousand people. St. Louis was 
a fur-trading post, of not more than a thousand 
souls, many of whom were boatmen or traders 
among the Indian tribes of the West. There were 
a few scattered villages along the rivers, but the 
great body of the territory was filled with In- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN mSTORY 245 

dians, of whose nature the whites were entirely 
ignorant. So far as the country was concerned, 
very httle was known about it. 

President Jefferson resolved to find out more 
about this vast domain which had doubled the ter- 
ritory of the United States, and which had cost 
only fifteen million dollars to purchase. He looked 
about for the man to send on a mission of explora- 
tion. He selected his own secretary. Captain Meri- 
wether Lewis, who invited Captain William Clark, 
the brother of George Rogers Clark, to join him. 

Both were young men, who had seen service on 
the border; both were Virginians; and both en- 
tered into the enterprise heart and soul. They 
were directed to note carefully every detail of the 
country, and to find out all they could about the 
Indian tribes. 

The journey was a long one — two thousand 
miles at least, and most of it had to be covered 
on rivers unknown to the explorers. With a party 
of forty-three brave men, they started from St. 
Louis, in May, 1804, on their toilsome way up 
the Missouri River. 

It was a pleasant time of the year, and for days 
the party sailed or rowed their boats up the yel- 
low stream, enjoying the beautiful country through 
which they were passing. Great trees, hanging 



246 AMERICA FIRST 



their branches to the water's edge, meadows filled 
with flowers, thickets full of birds and game, were 
passed day after day. 

At night, they would tie up to a bank where 
there was a spring, or clear stream of fresh water; 
then they would build a big camp fire of drift- 
wood, cook their evening meal, station sentries on 
the lookout for Indians or wild beasts, and lie 
down to sleep. 

Late in July, the Platte River was reached. 
Selecting a shady and comfortable camp, the ex- 
plorers sent messages to the Indians to come to a 
friendly meeting. A great crowd arrived, and re- 
ceived presents of flags, tomahawks, knives, beads, 
looking-glasses, red handkerchiefs, and gaudy coats; 
they vowed eternal friendship to the white man. 
The Indians danced around with as much glee as 
a lot of children, ^^^ly should they be at war 
w^ith those who brought them such beautiful gifts? 

The party continued on its way. The summer 
was passing, and the autumn was coming on. 
Great herds of buffaloes came down to the river 
to drink; great flocks of white gulls passed them 
overhead, while the woods were full of plums, 
grapes, and berries. Game and fish were to be 
had in abundance. The travelers fared well, and 
were very happy, though the nights were getting 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 247 

cold, and the camp fires on the banks had to be 
kept going all the time. 

In the autumn, they reached the country of the 
Mandan Indians, where they decided to spend 
the winter. Friendship was soon established by the 
gifts of beads and looking-glasses. The time was 
spent in hunting, fishing, and talking. One night, 
by the camp fire, an old Chief rose and said, 

"Far to the setting sun, my brother will find a 
deep gorge cut through the mountains. Down this 
gorge pours the mighty river with a roar like the 
thunders. Over it stands always a deep mist. 
High up in a dead tree, an eagle has built his 
nest. My brother cannot go there by the big 
canoe. Stay here with us." 

But Lewis replied, "The great father has sent 
me to see beyond the mountains, and to find the 
big water of the sea. In the spring, I must go, 
and those with me must go also. When the snow 
melts I shall be gone." So, when the flowers 
bloomed, Lewis and Clark made ready to move. 

Leaving their Indian friends, the party pushed 
on. But now the real troubles began. The navi- 
gation of the river became more and more diffi- 
cult. Sometimes they had to drag their canoes 
along by tow-lines, or carry them around the 
shoals and shallows. Their hunters kept them 



248 AMERICA FIRST 



supplied with bear meat, venison, and other game. 

They reached and passed the Yellowstone. In 
May, they came in sight of the Rocky Mountains. 
The river grew swifter and smaller, and traveling 
became more and more difficult. Lewis and Clark 
went scouting in every direction, climbing the 
bluffs to get a view of the country. Often they 
saw great herds of buffaloes feeding on the 
prairies. 

At evening, they always halted, the events of 
the day were noted down in their diaries, the diffi- 
culties of the journey discussed, and plans for the 
next day decided upon. Fresh logs were piled 
upon the blazing fire, sentinels were posted, and 
the men stretched themselves upon the ground for 
sleep. By daybreak they were up and moving. 

In June, Captain Lewis saw in the distance a 
thin, cloudlike mist, rising out of the plain. He 
did not doubt but that it was the Great Fall, of 
which the Mandan Indians had told him. In a 
few hours, the party stood upon the brink of the 
chasm, and saw the river pour its great flood 
through the gorge. Even the eagle's nest was 
there, just as the Indians had told him. 

There were thirteen miles of cascades and rapids. 
The Missouri rushed headlong over precipices and 
through canons a thousand feet deep. It was a 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 249 

sublime sight, and these were the first white men 
to behold it. 

The boats were abandoned, for the river was 
now too narrow and wild for navigation. No In- 
dians could be found anywhere to guide them 
across the mountains, so the party took to a well- 
beaten trail, which at last gave out high up in the 
mountains. 

Lewis left the party in camp, and set forth alone 
to find his way over the mountains. It was a ter- 
rible task, beset with danger on all sides, but at 
last he crossed the divide, and came upon a village 
of the Shoshone or Snake Indians, to whom he 
told his story. They were amazed that he could 
have crossed the mountains without a guide, and 
on foot. 

Going back with these Indians to direct him, 
Lewis at last brought the whole party over, and 
the journey was resumed. It was now winter 
again. The snow fell and the water froze. There 
was little to eat, and the men grew discouraged. 
Their food consisted mainly of dried fish. WTien 
a horse gave out, it was killed and eaten. They 
learned to eat dog-meat, and to be glad to get it. 
This was the hardest part of their journey. 

At last, ragged, half-starved, and footsore, the 
explorers came out on the other side of the moun- 



250 amp:rica first 



tains, more like fugitives than conquerors of a 
great wilderness. They had traveled four hundred 
miles on foot, through the tangled forests and 
over mountains. They looked more like Indians 
than white men, and were in such a weak condi- 
tion that they would have been easy prey, if the 
savages had been unfriendly. 

But their troubles were over. After resting with 
a friendly tribe, they built canoes and embarked 
upon the stream that led into the Columbia River. 
More and more villages appeared, more and more 
game was to be found, and the streams were full 
of fish. So they fared well. 

Finally, they entered the Columbia River, and, 
late in the fall, their canoes floated into the mouth 
of that great river in view of the Pacific Ocean. 
They had reached their goal at last! 

Here the winter was passed. In March, 1806, 
the explorers began their journey home, which, 
after many adventures, was safely reached. They 
had been gone two and a half years. Everybody 
had given them up for lost or dead. Hence, there 
was great surprise and joy at their return. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 251 



, COLTER'S RACE FOR LIFE 

When Lewis and Clark went on their tamous 
expedition across the continent, they had forty- 
three men with them. Among the number was a 
man named Colter, who joined in the enterprise 
more from a spirit of adventure than for any 
desire to be of service. 

The party had reached the very wildest part of 
the region they were to explore, when Colter left 
them, saying he was going to set up as a trapper. 
By this he meant that he was going to catch the 
wild animals of the region in traps, and sell their 
skins as fur. The fur-bearing game was abun- 
dant, easy to obtain, and fur was valuable in the 
markets. 

Colter bunt a cabin, set his traps, and began to 
gather the pelts. He lived on small game and fish, 
the fruits and nuts of the woods, and traded with 
the Lidians for corn and vegetables. For awhile 
all went well, until one day the Blackfoot tribe 
took him prisoner and carried him off to their 
village. 

Colter began to wish he had not left the ex- 
ploring party, especially as the Blackfoots began 



252 AMERICA FIRST 



to discuss the various ways they could amuse 
themselves by putting him to death. He knew 
enough of their language to understand what they 
were saying. Some were for burning him, others 
for shooting him with arrows. 

At last the Indian Chief approached him, and 
said, "I have decided to let you race for your 
life. My men will beat you, unless you are able 
to keep them from catching you. Can you go 
fast.'^" 

Colter was really a good runner, but he did not 
wish the Chief to know it. He replied, " I am a 
poor runner, and your braves will easily catch 
and kill me. But I will do the best I can." 

They led him out on the prairie, a few hundred 
yards away, and turned him loose. He was told 
to run, but he needed no advice. The whole band 
of Indians set up a yell, and started after him 
like a pack of wolves. Each Indian had either a 
spear or a short club or a tomahawk, while Colter 
was unarmed and barefoot. 

Fear gave him wings. He set his face toward 
the river, six miles away, and went like the wind. 
At the end of three miles, he glanced around and 
saw that only a few Indians had kept up with 
him. In fact, but one was near him; the others were 
far behind, and were losing ground. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 253 

Colter sped on as fast as he could. His life 
was very raucli at stake, for, after the next mile, 
he glanced around and saw the Indian was not 
more than twenty yards behind him, with his 
spear ready to throw. Colter stopped suddenly, 
and turned to one side. The Indian tried to stop, 
but lost his balance and fell to the ground almost 
breathless. 

Colter, seeing the savage, quickly seized his 
spear, drove it through his prostrate body, and, 
leaving him dead, started again for the river. 

The other Indians were now coming up. As 
they saw the dead body of their companion, they 
stopped to howl a few minutes, according to their 
custom, and then ran on in pursuit of the fleeing 
white man. 

Faster and faster flew Colter, coming nearer and 
nearer to the river. At length, he reached a 
thicket near the bank, into which he plunged; 
then he turned a little ways to one side, so as to 
deceive his pursuers. Into the current he went 
swimming with all his strength to a small island 
in the river. 

The Indians reached the shore a little later and 
saw Colter. With loud yells they followed, bent 
upon his destruction, and thinking they had caught 
him at last. 



254 AJVIERICA FIRST 



But Colter was not so easily trapped. He dived 
under the driftwood near the island, and came to 
a place between two logs in a pile of brush, where 
his nose and eyes alone showed above water. 
Here he held himself still for a long time, breath- 
ing whatever air he could, and watching for his 
foe. 

The Indians ran in every direction over the 
island, and looked in among the driftwood. When 
they came near his hiding-place, Colter sank under 
the water, and very quietly came up somewhere 
else. If they had set fire to the driftwood and 
brush, they would have smoked him out. He 
feared that they would do this, but fortunately 
the Indians were not clever enough to think of it. 

At last the savages went away, thinking Colter 
was drowned. The next day he swam to land, 
and tramped a long distance across the prairies. 
He was without shoes, and had but little clothing. 
Neither had he any gun, nor any other means of 
securing food. He lived on roots and berries for 
many days. 

At last he came to a trading-post, and told his 
wonderful story. He said that during his wan- 
derings he had passed springs that were boiling 
hot, and fountains that would spout water and 
steam hundreds of feet into the air. Nobody be- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 255 

lieved him then, but now we know that he was 
really the first white man to see the wonderful 
geysers of the Yellowstone Park. 



PIKE EXPLORES THE ARKANSAS 

VALLEY 

Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike was a bold young 
adventurer, who, when twenty-seven years of age, 
undertook to explore the country between Arkansas 
and the Red Rivers, in the same way that Lewis 
and Clark had explored the region of the Missouri 
River. 

In July, 1806, Pike and his men, full of courage 
and high spirits, left St. Louis in row-boats. They 
were prepared for the usual hard journey that 
awaited explorers of the far west, with all its 
dangers and discomforts. Their boats made about 
fifteen miles a day. They lived on deer, turkeys, 
and bears which they easily killed in their hunt- 
ing trips along the banks of the river. 

They turned into the Osage River, and, about 
the middle of August, reached some Indian villages 
where they were welcomed by the dusky Osage 
warriors, and refreshed after their tiresome trip. 



256 AMERICA FIRST 



Here Pike mounted his men on horses, and made 
ready for his long journey by land. 

Their first destination was the Pawnee villages 
far away on the Platte River, where a tribe of 
Indians lived whose friendship for the Americans 
was uncertain. On September 1, the party drove 
away full of hope and confidence. With them rode 
a band of Osage warriors for a short distance, to 
show them their good-will and to do them honor. 

In a few days the party rode across the divid- 
ing ridge, and the prairies of Kansas spread before 
them. Far as the eye could see, the rich land 
stretched, level and beautiful, covered with tall 
grass and low-growing bushes. A few hills, here 
and there, broke the monotony of the landscape. 
Occasionally, a group of trees could be located, 
and there, beneath the branches the Indians buried 
their dead to keep the bodies from the devouring 
wolves and coyotes. It was a wonderful country, 
which in future years was to be the greatest grain- 
growing section of the world. 

At last. Pike came to the Pawnee villages. The 
evil reputation of these savages boded no good to 
his mission of friendship. He was far from home, 
and his band was few in numbers. Just before he 
arrived, a body of three hundred Spanish soldiers, 
from New Mexico, had been there, and sown dis- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 257 



trust and enmity for the Americans. When Pike 
arrived, with his twenty-three men, the Indians 
did not try to conceal their disdain. 

"Our friends, the Spaniards, have many war- 
riors, on strong horses, and bring many presents. 
You are nothing beside them, and we do not fear 
you," said the Chief to Pike. 

Pike rephed, "There are few of us here, but 
there' are many of us where I come from. The 
Spaniards are many here, but few at home. We 
bring friendship and peace. You had best hsten 
to us, and not to the Spaniards." 

But the savages would not attend his councils, 
and looked on with sour faces when Pike raised 
the American flag in their villages. They prob- 
ably thought he was trying to amuse them by some 
sort of game, but they refused to be amused. 

After leaving the Pawnee villages. Pike's party 
continued its westward journey, going up the 
Arkansas River, looking for its source. Toward 
the beginning of winter they reached the Spanish 
Peaks, where the river, growing smaller all the 
time, finally was lost among the hills. They were 
now in the land that afterwards became Colorado. 

Before them lay a lofty peak, which Pike deter- 
mined to climb, that he might get a better view 
of the country. Day after day he struggled 



258 AlVIERICA FIRST 



through the tangled brush, over gulhes, and up 
the steep sides of the mountain. Every night 
brought him and his men nearer the top. Amid 
many difficulties, he reached a great altitude, and 
at last, on the very summit, saw the wonderful 
plains and prairies of Colorado spread before him. 

The high point was afterwards named "Pike's 
Peak," in honor of the intrepid explorer. To-day, 
a railway track is laid to the top of the same 
mountain, and in summer many visitors take, in 
perfect comfort, the same wonderful climb that 
Pike and his men took with such hardship. 

Winter now set in. The rivers began to freeze, 
the snow fell and covered the trails, the wood be- 
came too wet to burn, and Pike and his men en- 
dured untold misery. Trying to find his way back 
to the head waters of the Red River, he missed 
his way, and the party wandered like lost men 
through the hills, without shelter and often with- 
out food. Men with less courage and strength 
w^ould have perished in the terrible hardships they 
endured. 

At last they built a block-house for shelter, and 
settled down to wait. Pike sent one of his men 
to hunt for Santa Fe, the Spanish town, and to 
brmg succor. When the messenger reached Santa 
Fe and told his story, the Spaniards listened with 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 259 

some distrust, but sent a squadron of horse to 
find Pike and his men. 

Reaching the brave httle party, the Spaniards 
arrested Pike for being on Spanish territory; they 
suspected him of having designs on New Mexico. 
Pike was glad enough to be rescued, no matter 
what the Spaniards thought of him. Here is how 
he, himself, describes what befell him and his men, 
when they reached Santa Fe: 

"When we presented ourselves at Santa Fe, I 
was dressed in a pair of blue trousers, moccasins, 
blanket-coat, and a cap made of scarlet cloth, 
Hned with fox skins, and my poor fellows in leg- 
gings, breech-cloths, and leather coats. There was 
not a hat in the whole party. Our appearance was 
extremely mortifying to us all, especially as sol- 
diers. Greater proof cannot be given of the igno- 
rance of the people here than their asking if we 
hved in houses or in camps like the Indians, or if 
we wore hats in our country," 

After a brief detention, as prisoners, and largely 
because of satisfactory explanation on Pike's part, 
the explorers were sent back to the United States 
under an armed escort, though Pike's papers were 
taken from him, so that he had to supply the de- 
tails of his explorations as best he could from 
memory. 



«60 AMERICA FIRST 



HOW THE PUMPKINS SAVED A FAMILY 

When the Moore family moved to Ohio, about 
a hundred years ago, they had to carry with them 
everything they needed. They went in a covered 
wagon, with all their household goods, a long 
supply of provisions, guns, axes, implements with 
which to cultivate the farm and garden, and seeds 
to plant. Like all other pioneers who went into 
the wilderness of the West, they were prepared for 
almost any emergency. There could be no sending 
back home for anything! 

The Moores built a log cabin by the side of a 
stream, and not far from the cabins of other 
pioneers like themselves. Around them was the 
deep forest, full of game. In the rivers and lakes 
there was an abundance of fish. The soil was very 
fertile and grew anything that was planted. Their 
cabin had but one room, with a big fireplace in 
which all the cooking was done. The boys slept 
in a loft, which they reached by a ladder from the 
inside. 

The first winter was hard. It was cold out- 
side, but Mr. Moore had cleaned up his land, and 
there was plenty of fuel; so that, when the wind 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 261 

roared and the snow fell, the family sat about the 
big fire and talked of the people back East, or dis- 
cussed the plans for the spring planting. After 
the coals had been pulled over the embers, in 
order to have fire in the morning, the family went 
to bed, and covered themselves with the heavy 
robes they had bought from the Indians. During 
the day, the boys trapped rabbits, and shot other 
game in the woods. So the family had plenty of 
meat to eat, though they had to be sparing of the 
meal and flour they had brought with them. 

After the snow had melted, the ground was soft 
and ready for plowing and planting. Among the 
seed which Mr. Moore had brought were some 
pumpkin seed, and one of the boys, named Obed, 
was careful to plant them in a good place so that 
the pumpkins would flourish. He had not for- 
gotten Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving. 

The crops did marvelously well. There was 
plenty of wheat, and corn, and potatoes, and the 
way those pumpkins grew was something to be 
proud of! Spring and summer passed, and winter 
came on again. There was now an abundance of 
food, ample wood for the winter, and everybody 
was well. The Moores were as happy and prosper- 
ous a pioneer family as one could find anywhere. 

The only thing that gave any fear at all was the 



262 AMERICA FIRST 



Indians. Those lurking savages had been acting 
badly of late. Mrs. Moore had always been kind 
to them, and Mr. Moore had often given them 
little trinkets and tobacco and medicine. There 
was no reason why the Moores should be afraid 
of their savage neighbors, but still they were, and 
Mr. Moore never left the house without misgivings. 

On the Monday before Hallowe'en, Mr. Moore 
set out for the nearest village on a two days' 
journey, to buy some things he needed for the 
winter. "Take care of the mother and the chil- 
dren," he told the boys, Joe and Obed, "and keep 
a sharp lookout for the Indians." With that he 
mounted his horse and rode off down the trail. 

Joe and Obed went into the garden, and brought 
in two immense pumpkins. With these they be- 
gan to make jack-o'-lanterns, just as they did 
before they came to their new home in the West. 
They cut out the eyes and nose and mouth, and 
scooped out the inside of each pumpkin, making 
places for the candles. They were particular to 
make two as hideous heads as possible, though 
they had no idea what they would do with them 
afterwards. 

Hardly had they finished the lanterns, than a 
man came riding up to the door. "The Indians 
are coming! The Indians are coming! Close your 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 263 

doors and get ready for an attack," he cried. 
"They killed a family down the river, and are 
marching this way. Give me a fresh horse, for 
mine is broken down." 

The boys quickly handed him over one of their 
horses, and led his exhausted animal into their 
barn. They barred the door and windows, put 
out the lights, for it was now dark, loaded their 
guns, and crouched down by the fireplace to wait. 
"If father were only here," whispered Joe to Obed. 
"Never mind," answered Obed, "we will give a 
good account of ourselves." 

The two boys heard a sound in the yard. Even 
though it was dark, the snow had fallen that 
morning, so one could see fairly well. Cautiously 
peering through the windows, Obed caught sight 
of figures moving across the yard toward the cabin. 

"They are coming," he whispered. "Give me 
the rifle." 

Joe turned to get the gun, and his eyes fell on 
the two jack-o'-lanterns he and his brother had 
made. A great idea flashed through his mind. 
"It is worth trying, anyway," he said to himself. 
Then he seized a burning coal from the fire, and 
blew it into a blaze. Then he lighted two candles, 
and put them inside one of the pumpkins. He 
did the same thing with the other pumpkin. 



264 AIVIERICA FIRST 



"Here, Obed," he cried, "we will scare those 
devils to death." 

Seizing one of the lanterns, with the light gleam- 
ing hideously from the great mouth and eyes and 
nose, Joe threw open the blind, and held the pump- 
kin in the window. Obed followed his brother's 
example. 

By this time, a dozen Indians were in the yard, 
making ready for the attack. Seeing the hideous 
monsters at the windows, and hearing a loud 
groaning noise which Joe and Obed made, the 
savages were overcome with terror. The lanterns 
bobbed up and down, turned this way and that, 
and appeared to glare furiously at the intruders. 
Then the two boys let forth a hideous whoop, and 
fired off a gun. 

This w^as too much for the red-skins. With 
loud yells, they fled into the forest, and did not 
stop running until they w^ere miles away. Joe 
and Obed never tired of telling their friends 
how two pumpkins saved the Moore family from 
destruction. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 265 



OLD IRONSIDES 

The good ship Constitution was built by order of 
Congress to fight the pirate ships of Algeria. She 
was built in Boston, and was designed to be a 
little bigger and a little better than any other 
fighting ship of her kind afloat. 

The Constitution was made of the best material 
and with the greatest care. Workmen searched the 
lumber-yards of the South for oak, cedar and pine. 
Paul Revere, who made the famous midnight ride, 
furnished the copper. It took three years to build 
the frigate, and, when she was done, her timbers 
had seasoned until they were hard as iron. 

The Constitution played her part in the war 
against the pirates of the Barbary Coast in Africa. 
For two years there was plenty of fighting, in 
which the frigate seemed to bear a charmed life. 
She never lost her mast, nor was she ever seriously 
injured in battle or in storm. She never lost a 
commanding ofiicer, and only a few of her crew 
were killed. 

It was during the War of 1812 that the Consti- 
tution won her chief glory. Her most remarkable 
feat was her escape from a British squadron. 



266 AlNtERICA FIRST 



At daybreak, toward the middle of July, 1812, 
off the New Jersey coast, the frigate found herself 
surrounded by a fleet of British ships that had 
crept up in the night. They were waiting for 
dawn to begin the attack. Captain Isaac Hull 
was in command of the Constitution, and had no 
idea of surrendering his ship. He thought only of 
means to escape from his danger. 

Not a breath of air ruffled the water, and the 
sails of all the ships were useless. One of the 
British frigates was being towed by all the boats 
of her squadron, so as to get her near enough to 
the Constitution to open fire. The boats then ex- 
pected to bring other frigates into position, and 
thus begin a general battle. This would seal the 
doom of the Constitution. Without wind, there was 
no chance for her to get away. But Hull was not to be 
caught. He thought of his anchor and windlass. 

"How much w^ater have we under this ship.^^" 
he shouted. Upon being told he had twenty 
fathoms, he cried out, 

"Bring up the anchor and all the spare ropes 
and cable. Then all hands to the boats!" 

The order was quickly obeyed. Putting the 
anchor into a boat, it was carried a mile ahead 
and dropped into the ocean. The ropes and cables 
attached to it were still fastened to the windlass. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 267 

The men on the ship began to wind up the wind- 
lass, and gradually drew the boat along to the 
place where the anchor was dropped. 

Then the anchor was moved ahead another mile, 
and the boat drawn up again. In this manner, 
slow progress was made through the water, but it 
was better than not making any headway at all. 

The pursuit was kept up for two days. But 
slowly the Coristitution gained on her pursuers, 
until, after a two days' chase, the enemy was four 
miles astern. 

A squall gave Hull his chance to open sails and 
hide behind the rain and cloud-banks. In a few 
hours, the weather cleared, and the British were 
almost out of sight. They soon abandoned the 
chase, and Hull took his frigate into Boston har- 
bor, amid the cheers of the people. 

In less than two weeks, he was out again, search- 
ing the ocean for British craft, and ready to give 
battle to any vessel he might meet. The British 
had a fine frigate, named the Guerriere, com- 
manded by Captain Dacres, who was a personal 
friend of Captain Hull. The Guerriere had chal- 
lenged any vessel of the American fleet to battle, 
and was cruising on the Atlantic, waiting for an 
answer. The Constitution went out to accept the 
challenge. 



268 AMERICA FIRST 



Years before this, Dacres and Hull had been 
talking about a possible battle between their frig- 
ates. "If we ever meet in combat, I wager a 
fine hat I will make you surrender," said Dacres 
to Hull. 

"Agreed," was the laughing reply of Captain 
Hull. "I expect to win that hat some day." 

In August, about seven hundred miles from 
Boston, the two vessels met. The Constitution and 
the Guerriere were the finest frigates in the world, 
their Commanders equally brave, their men equally 
matched. It was a question of ship management 
and gun power. 

The British frigate flung out a flag of defiance 
from each topmast. Her guns began to roar, but 
the balls fell short of the Constitution. 

"Don't fire until I give the word. Let the two 
vessels draw near together before we open. Keep 
steady and ready, and never mind their guns," 
said Hull to his men. 

The two ships drifted nearer and nearer. The 
enemy's broadsides tore through the rigging of 
the Constitution. One of the enemy's balls struck 
the side of the vessel, and fell into the sea. A 
sailor, looking overboard, said, 

"See the balls falling away from her. She's an 
old ironside, sir, an old ironside." 



i>c(r ivv^i,' n:^[X}^! 




,.1^1 




"The Guerriere was a helpless hulk in the water. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 2G9 

From that time on, the Constitution was called 
"Old Ironsides." 

The two vessels came fairly abreast, near enough 
for the men to see each other, and for good pistol 
shot. 

"Ready, men, do your full duty and fire," 
shouted Hull. 

Broadside after broadside was poured into the 
Guerriere. First her mizzen mast fell, then her 
foremast was cut down, then her rigging and flag; 
she was soon a helpless hulk in the water. 

Dacres surrendered, and came on board the Con- 
stitution to deliver his sword to his old friend. 
But Hull smilingly said, 

"No, Dacres, you can keep the sword, for you 
are too brave a man to be without one. / want 
that hat you and I wagered some years ago." 

When "Old Ironsides" sailed into Boston on the 
last day of August, you may well believe the 
people shouted themselves hoarse, and w^aved flags, 
and hung out bunting, and gave grand dinners in 
honor of this great naval victory. 



270 AIVIERICA FIRST 



TECUMSEH 

Tecumseh was probably the greatest American 
Indian that race has ever produced. He was the 
most eloquent orator ever known among the savage 
tribes. When he spoke, his voice was deep and 
full, like an organ, his face shone with emotion, and 
his words were remarkable for their poetic beauty. 

His father was a Shawnee warrior, and was killed 
in battle with white settlers, when Tecumseh was 
a mere child. This impressed him with a great 
resolve to keep the white men out of the Indian 
lands, and to fight them whenever he could. 

He possessed a sensitive dignity, as is shown by 
the following incident. Upon one occasion, when 
he came with his warriors to hold a conference 
with General Harrison, he looked around, after he 
had finished his address, to find a seat. Seeing 
that none had been reserved for him, he appeared 
offended. 

A white man, seated near General Harrison, 
arose and offered him his seat, saying, "Your 
father wishes you to sit by his side." 

"The sun is my father, and the earth is my 
mother. I shall sit in his light and rest on her 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 271 

bosom," said Tecumseh. Whereupon, he sat down 
on the ground, in the full light of the sun. 

Tecumseh was a noble soldier, and never al- 
lowed any prisoners to be tortured. He promised 
General Harrison that, in case of war between the 
Indians and the whites, he would not permit his 
warriors to massacre women and children. He 
faithfully kept his word. At the siege of Fort 
Meigs, the Indians began murdering their pris- 
oners. Tecumseh ran in, and, brandishing his 
tomahawk, bade them stop at once. Turning to 
General Procter, who stood looking on, he cried 
out, 

"Why do you permit this outrage.^ Why did 
you not stop those men, and save those wretched 
prisoners?" 

Procter replied that the Indians could not be 
restrained, and that he could not prevent the 
massacre. 

Tecumseh was furious at this, and said, "Be- 
gone, you coward. You are not fit to command 
men. Go and put on a petticoat, and sit with 
the women, where you belong." 

Procter was not a brave soldier, and, at one 
time, burned his stores and abandoned his fort, 
even though he had a thousand men and three 
thousand Indian allies. Tecumseh was so dis- 



272 AMERICA FIRST 



gusted with his cowardice, that he compared hiui 
to a fat dog, who barked and held his tail high, 
when there was no danger, but who howled, and 
dropped his tail between his legs and ran, when- 
ever any one attacked him. 

WTien Tecumseh went to Alabama to stir up 
the Creek Indians against the w^hites of that sec- 
tion, he found them unwilling to rise against their 
neighbors and friends. All his eloquence failed to 
move them, and, to all his appeals and threats, 
they merely shook their heads. Finally, in a 
burst of anger, he cried out, 

"Your blood is white, and no longer runs red 
like the rising sun. You do not fight because you 
are cowards and are afraid to fight. You do not 
believe the Great Spirit has sent me, but you shall 
believe it. I am going back to Detroit. It will 
take me many days, but when I reach there, I 
shall tell the Great Spirit, and I shall stamp my 
foot on the ground, and shake every house in 
your village." 

So saying, he left, and journeyed northward. 
The Indians counted the days until he should 
reach home. Strangely enough, about the time he 
was due there, an earthquake shook the village. 
The Indians rushed wildly for their dwellings, 
crying out, 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 273 

"Tecumseh has arrived in Detroit; he has told 
the Great Spirit; we feel the stamping of his 
foot!" 

The last battle in which this warrior was en- 
gaged was that of the Thames. The Americans 
had been pursuing the British and their Indian 
allies for some time, until Tecumseh was tired of 
the disgraceful state of affairs, and told the British 
officer, Procter, that he would retreat no longer. 
"We will stand here and give battle," said he. 
"I and my warriors were not made for running 
away from our enemies." 

The result was the battle of the Thames. At 
the opening of the conflict, Tecumseh turned to 
his friends, and said, 

"Brother warriors, I shall never come out of 
this battle alive. I go there to die, but I go. 
My body will remain on the field, I know it will 
be so." 

He unbuckled his sword, and handed it to one 
of his Chiefs, and said, "When my son becomes a 
great warrior, give him this sword, and tell him 
his father died like a brave Chief and a hero. 
Tell my people I died for their rights." With 
that, he also took off the British uniform, which 
he had been wearing, and put on his own savage 
dress and war-paint. 



274 AMERICA FIRST 



The battle raged for a while with fury. Procter 
at last fled through the swamps and wilderness, 
escaping with a few followers. Tecumseh, how- 
ever, brandishing his club, rushed upon his pur- 
suers, and fell, pierced with many wounds. 



THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER 

During the War of 1812, the British fleet block- 
aded our ports and sailed up our rivers to attack 
our cities and forts. Thus, they entered the 
Chesapeake Bay, and landed troops outside Wash- 
ington City. 

A battle was fought near there, but the British 
were not stopped from pursuing their way to the 
capital. The city was in great danger and the 
people hastened to gather their possessions and 
made their escape. There were only eight thou- 
sand inhabitants in Washington at that time. It 
was a small town, as compared with its great size 
and splendor, to-day. - 

A messenger rode in haste to bid the people 
flee. He came to the White House, where Dolly 
Madison, the wife of President James Madison, 
was waiting for her husband. He called out to 
her, "Mr. Madison says go, or the house will be 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 275 



burned over your head. The British are on the 
way to the capital. There is no time to lose. 
Escape as quickly as you can." 

Dolly Madison did not go at once, but set about 
gathering the Cabinet papers, and the Declaration 
of Independence, which she made a servant pack 
in a trunk. Then she ordered a large portrait of 
Washington to be cut out of its frame, and rolled 
up so she could take that too. Having done 
these things, she escaped with her treasures, just 
as the British were entering the city. 

The soldiers marched into the deserted town, 
and burned the Treasury Building, the Pubhc 
Library, and the White House. A notorious officer, 
named Cockburn, followed by a mob of soldiers, 
entered the new Capitol, climbed into the Speaker's 
chair, and called out: "Shall this harbor of Yankee 
Democracy be burned?'* 

The mob of half-drunken soldiers called out, 
*'Aye," and proceeded to apply the torch to the 
building. 

Dolly Madison found refuge with her friends in 
the country. When she and the President returned 
to Washington, they had to live in a rented house. 

About three weeks after the burning of the city, 
the British began to attack Fort McHenry, which 
was built to protect the harbor of Baltimore. One 



276 AiVIERICA FIRST 



evening, the British sent two bomb vessels, and a 
number of barges, filled with soldiers, to pass the 
fort and assail it in the rear. 

But the noise of their oars was heard in the 
darkness, and an order was given to open fire on 
them. A deadly discharge was poured out from 
Fort McHenry upon the creeping craft, with the 
result that nearly all of them were sent to the 
bottom. 

The English suffered so much from this repulse 
that they abandoned the attack and sailed away. 

During the bombardment, Francis Scott Key, a 
young lawyer, was sent, under a flag of truce, to 
convey a message to the British fleet. His pur- 
pose was to secure the release of several prisoners. 

After delivering his message, Key and his party 
were on the point of departure, when an officer 
said, 

"Mr. Key, I have orders to detain you and your 
party until the bombardment is over. You will, 
therefore, remain here." 

Key did not like to be held, but there was no 
help for it. So he and his associates were kept in 
a little vessel moored to the side of an English 
ship, under guard of a body of soldiers. Here, on 
the deck, they witnessed the bombardment of the 
fort. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 277 

All night long the shells were fired. Key 
watched each one as it fell upon the fort, and 
listened for each explosion. Suddenly, before the 
morning dawned, the firing ceased. 

"Has the fort surrendered, or have the British 
abandoned the attack?" was the anxious thought 
in the minds of the weary watchers. 

There was no way to find out until day came. 
"If the flag is still flying, then the fort has not 
surrendered," said Key to his companions. Anx- 
iously they paced the deck. 

As day dawned, they turned their glasses toward 
the fort, and, to their great joy, they saw the 
flag was still there. Key was overcome with emo- 
tion. Drawing a letter from his pocket, he wrote 
on the back of it the opening lines of our national 
song, "The Star-Spangled Banner." 

Later in the day, a small boat took him back 
to Baltimore. On his w^ay he completed the poem. 
That very night, he corrected it, and wrote it out 
as we now have it. The next day, he showed the 
poem to a friend of his, who was so pleased that 
he had it printed in a Baltimore paper. 

When the words appeared, they were eagerly 
memorized by an actor, named Charles Durang, 
who stood on a chair and, for the first time, 
sang them to a crowd. Then, everybody joined in. 



278 AMERICA FIRST 



Soon the piece was being sung all over the coun- 
try. It is our great national song, and whenever 
it is played or sung, we rise reverently and un- 
cover our heads, proud of our great flag and of 
the deeds of valor it has encouraged. 



TRA^^ELING BY THE CANAL 

Long before the days of railroads and auto- 
mobiles, the people of the country had to travel 
from one place to another by means of stage- 
coaches and wagons, over rough roads, and with a 
great deal of discomfort. The pioneers made use 
of the rivers when they could, for traveling by 
water was much easier than jolting, or sticking in 
the mud every few miles. 

The people began to think of a system of water- 
ways, or canals, to connect the rivers with one 
another, and to open up communication with the 
Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, The greatest 
of all these channels is the Erie Canal, extending 
from Albany, on the Hudson River, to Buffalo, on 
Lake Erie. By it, an all-water way was secured 
from New York to the Great Lakes, opening up 
traffic between the East and the rapidly growing 
West. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 279 

The Canal was a great enterprise. It took eight 
years to build, was three hundred and sixty-three 
miles long, forty feet wide, and, at first, only four 
feet deep. Later on it was made seven feet deep. 
It cost something over seven million dollars to con- 
struct, an expense which was borne by the State 
of New York. Governor DeWitt Clinton was the 
genius of the Canal, and devoted his energies to 
making it a success. People laughed at him, and 
called the Canal "Clinton's Ditch." But he went 
on, year by year, with an army of workmen, cut- 
ting down trees, leveling land, blasting through 
rock, building stone aqueducts across streams, and 
constructing locks from one level to another. 

At last, the Canal was completed, in 1824. 
Governor Clinton went through it on the first 
boat. It was named the Seneca-Chief, and was 
drawTi by four gray horses. It started from Buf- 
falo, on its way to Albany. The boat carried a 
bear, two Indian boys, two eagles, and other 
things representing the Great West; also a keg of 
water from Lake Erie to empty into the Atlantic 
Ocean, so as to show that the waters of the two 
great bodies were united at last. Cannon, sta- 
tioned one every five miles from Buffalo to New 
York, announced the progress of the boat. It 
took eighty-one minutes to let the people in New 



280 AMERICA FIRST 



York know that the boat had started from Buffalo. 
All along the way, she was greeted with the ring- 
ing of bells, the booming of cannon, the waving of 
flags, and the shouting of enthusiastic people. 
When the boat arrived in New York, a great cele- 
bration was held in honor of the event. 

The canal-boat was a curious affair, about eighty 
feet long and twelve feet wide and three feet 
draught. On its deck was a cabin, in which were 
cramped sleeping-quarters. In the daytime, the 
bunks were folded out of sight, to make room for 
the tables at which the passengers ate. It was 
drawn by horses or mules, hitched to a long tow- 
line, and its speed was about two miles an hour. 
It was against the rules to go faster than four 
miles, for fear the wash of the water, caused by 
the motion of the boat, would damage the banks. 

Stops were frequent, and passage through the 
locks caused much loss of time. Now and again, 
the passengers got off the boat to look around, and 
often they were left behind. Then they had to 
run along the banks, overtake the boat, and 
scramble aboard the best way they could. In fine 
weather, they sat in chairs on the deck outside 
the cabin, and enjoyed the scenery as they glided 
slowly along. Small villages were passed, then 
farms and forests. The canal wound among the 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 281 

hills, and went straight across a level area. Some- 
times, when the weather was good, the passengers 
were allowed to walk on the tow-path by the side 
of the canal. It was a slow but pleasant journey; 
fortunately, in those days, nobody was in a hurry. 

One of the inconveniences was the frequency of 
the low bridges, under which the boat had to pass. 
If a passenger was not constantly on the lookout, 
he would be swept off the deck by a bridge, and 
find himself in the water. It was the helmsman's 
duty to cry out, "Low bridge," and then all the 
passengers would either have to duck their heads 
or go below. It was accounted great fun to leap 
from the deck on to the bridge, as the boat ap- 
proached it, and then, having crossed, to leap 
back on the boat again. 

Thus, the boat went along, full of freight in the 
hold, and passengers in the cabin and on the deck. 
It took six or seven days to cover the entire dis- 
tance. We can cross the continent, or the Atlan- 
tic Ocean, in that time now, and go the same 
distance in less than a day. 

On wet and cold days, travel by the Canal was 
not pleasant, for the passengers had to stay in the 
cabin, and suffer the discomfort of close quarters, 
with nothing to see and nothing to do. 

After the coming of railroads, the Erie Canal 



282 AMERICA FIRST 



ceased to be popular as a means of passenger 
travel. It was too slow and uncomfortable. But 
for freight it is still used. 



LAFAYETTE'S RETURN TO AMERICA 

In 1824, Lafayette, now an old man, longed to 
visit once more the people of America, and to see 
again the scenes of his youthful glory. Congress 
at once invited him to be the nation's guest. 

More than forty years had passed since he had 
come to America's aid. The thirteen colonies were 
now twenty -four states. The nation was prosper- 
ous, peaceful, and powerful — a republic of twelve 
million people. Towns and villages had sprung up, 
and even the Far West was being opened to adven- 
turous explorers and settlers. 

Death had claimed many of the intimate friends 
of Lafayette. Washington had been dead for 
twenty-five years. Greene, Waj^ne, INIarion and 
Morgan were all gone. Lafayette was the last 
surviving Major-General of the Revolution. But 
there were many veteran soldiers yet alive, and 
there was an entire nation of grateful people to 
welcome him to the shores of America. 

Lafayette himself had had a busy and turbulent 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 283 

career since his part in the American War for In- 
dependence. He had fought the battles of Hberty 
in his own country and had for five years been a 
prisoner in an Austrian dungeon. But in spite of 
this exciting hfe, he was still a strong and vigorous 
man. 

In appearance, he was very tall and rather 
stout. He had a round face, with regular features 
and a high forehead. His complexion was clear, 
and his cheeks were red. He had lost his hair in 
the Austrian prison, and wore a curly, reddish- 
brown wig to conceal his entirely bald head. 

Accompanied by his son, George Washington 
Lafayette, and his private secretary, Lafayette 
reached New York, in August, 1824. Six thou- 
sand citizens, aboard gaily-dressed vessels, went out 
to meet his approaching ship. With cannon boom- 
ing from the forts, and with flags flying from every 
masthead and building, the boat, bearing the dis- 
tinguished foreigner, came to shore while many 
thousands of people lined the docks, and shouted, 
"Welcome, Lafayette! All honor to the nation's 
guest!" 

In a few days, Lafayette went to Washington, 
and President Monroe formally received him at 
the AYhite House as the guest of the iVmerican 
people. From that time on, for more than a year, 



284 AMERICA FIRST 



he was engaged in a long series of receptions and 
ovations, in every state of the Union. 

Having promised to attend the graduating exer- 
cises of Harvard College, Lafayette started for 
Boston. There were no railroads in those days, 
and traveling was done by carriages. His party, 
therefore, traveled for five days, from early morn- 
ing imtil late at night. 

Every village had its triumphal arch, and its 
procession of citizens and soldiers. Over the streets 
were mottoes of greeting to the great friend of 
Washington. Music and banquets and speeches of 
welcome greeted the party along the entire w^ay. 

People gathered from many miles around, and 
camped along the road to see his carriage pass. A 
large procession of horsemen followed him, as es- 
cort, from place to place. Cannon were fired, 
bells were rung, and bonfires were built by the 
eager and grateful crowds. 

In this fashion the party came to Boston; and 
it was thus the people of the United States greeted 
their guest wherever he went. 

A few weeks after his arrival, Lafayette went 
to Yorktown to attend the celebration of the an- 
niversary of the surrender of Cornwallis, which 
had occurred forty -three years before. He was 
entertained in the house which had been Corn- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 285 

wallis's headquarters. Lafayette was provided with 
a bed; but many distinguished persons had to 
sleep in tents or on straw upon the floors of the 
houses, so great was the crowd. 

A laurel wreath was offered to Lafayette at 
Yorktown; after wearing it on his head for a short 
while, he gave it to his friend. Colonel Nicholas 
Fish, who had helped him take a fort at York- 
town. "You must wear this also," he said. "It 
belongs to you more than it does to me.'' 

As these two old comrades later on sailed up 
the Hudson River, Lafayette turned to Colonel 
Fish, and said, "Nicholas, do you remember when 
we were young, how we used to slide down those 
hills in an ox-sled with the girls from Newburgh.^" 

Then they fell to talking about the old times 
during the Revolution; often they would laugh 
over some remembered incident, and then again 
their eyes would fill with tears. 

In Nashville, Tennessee, the hero was given a 
rousing welcome. In New Orleans, a band of 
Choctaw Indians, who had been camped there for 
a month, awaiting his arrival, marched before his 
carriage to see "the great warrior, brother of our 
good father, Washington." 

Lafayette visited Mt. Vernon, the home of Wash- 
ington. He went through the rooms, the halls. 



286 AMERICA FIRST 



and over the grounds, with which he had been 
so famihar. He went to the tomb of his good 
chief, and stood with bowed head before the stone 
coffin. Reverently, he kneeled and kissed the last 
resting-place of the great man he had served so 
well and loved so truly. Tears were in his eyes as 
he rejoined his waiting companions. 

Many other places did Lafayette visit in 
America. He was present at the laying of the 
corner-stone of the Bunker Hill monument; he 
visited the aged Jefferson in Virginia; he went to 
Philadelphia. 

In September, 1825, he was given a farewell 
dinner at the \Miite House, by the new President, 
John Quincy Adams, and, shortly afterwards, sailed 
for France, amid the blessings and prayers of a 
grateful nation. 



OSCEOLA, THE SEMINOLE CHIEF 

When Florida was purchased by the United 
States from Spain, there remained on that terri- 
tory the Seminole Indians, who had to be dealt 
with. Naturally, the white men wished the savages 
to be removed at once. 

They said to the Indians, "We have bought all 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 287 

this land from Spain. You have no right to 
occupy it, and we propose to take it away from 
you. We will pay you for it, but you must give 
it up and go West, where we will give you other 
land." 

The Seminole Chief replied, "This is the land 
of my forefathers. We owned it before the Span- 
iards ever heard of it. They never bought it 
from us, and they cannot sell it to you. We do 
not recognize your right, and we shall not move." 

The presence of the Seminoles was a menace in 
another direction. Escaped slaves often found their 
way into the Everglades, and became members of 
the tribe. The men slaves married Indian women, 
and the Seminole braves married slave women. 
Thus the swamps and Indian villages became 
places of refuge for slaves, who had run away from 
their owners, and who adopted the free and simple 
life of the savages. 

One of the Chiefs of the Seminoles was Osceola. 
His wife was the daughter of an escaped slave. 
She was born in the Everglades, and, when she 
grew to be a young woman, the Chief married her 
with all the ceremony of his tribe. 

Once, when Osceola and his young wife were 
visiting one of the United States forts, she was 
seized and claimed as a slave by her mother's 



288 AMERICA FIRST 



former master. The accepted rule was that the 
children of slaves belonged to the master of their 
parents. The half -Indian wife was, therefore, torn 
from the side of her husband and carried off. 

Osceola stormed in his great wrath. He strove 
with those around him, and cried out in agony 
when he saw his wife thus being taken away. He 
was bound in irons, and kept a close prisoner, until 
she was safely gone. Then he was given his free- 
dom, and told to be off! 

When he reached the Everglades, he assembled 
his tribe, and described to them all his wrongs. 
Thereupon, he swore an undying vengeance against 
the whites. 

The Seminoles met in council with the agents of 
the United States to discuss a treaty which pro- 
vided for their removal elsewhere. Osceola was 
present, and listened in silence to the talk of both 
parties. Wien called upon to give his answer, he 
drew his knife, and struck it deep into the table 
before him. "With that knife, and with that 
alone, will I treat with the white man for the 
lands of my forefathers," he said, and walked 
from the room. 

Thus, began a long war between the Seminoles 
and the white men of Florida. Many a bloody 
battle was fought. The Seminoles had their homes 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 289 

along the edges of the swamp, and deep in the 
Everglades of Florida. These pathless and almost 
impenetrable regions furnished hiding-places for the 
savages, and it was almost impossible to track them 
to their retreats. 

Word was sent by Osceola to all members of 
the tribe that any chief who signed a treaty with 
the whites, or who promised to go West should be 
put to death. He heard that one of his Chiefs 
was more peaceably inclined than the others. 
"Let him be slain for his treachery,'* ordered 
Osceola, and it was done the same night. " 

The white settlers of Florida now felt the full 
fury of the Seminoles. Bands of Indians and their 
negro followers roved over the state attacking 
mail-carriers, stage-coaches, and small settlements. 
Troops were sent against them, but what could 
they do against so wily a foe, that fought from 
ambush, and, whenever pursued, disappeared in 
the swamps? 

A body of soldiers, about one hundred and forty 
in number, was met by the Indians in ambuscade. 
All were shot down but two; the wounded and 
dying were scalped and slain, as they lay helpless 
on the ground. 

The very same day, Osceola and a few followers 
surprised General Wiley Thomson, sent by the 



290 AMERICA FIRST 



Government to urge the removal of the Seminoles. 
He and his friends were at dinner. 

Bursting in upon them, with a loud yell, and 
brandishing his knife, Osceola seized General 
Thomson, and drove his knife into his heart. 
Then he scalped him, and in haste, the rest of 
the party escaped. 

Thus did Osceola spread terror in Florida. The 
settlers became so alarmed, that whole towns in 
the interior were forsaken, the people hastening to 
the forts, or to the coast for protection. Hundreds 
of United States' soldiers were perishing from the 
fevers of the swamps and the bites of venomous 
reptiles. 

Bands of Indians would emerge from the swamps, 
go on their way of murder and destruction, and 
then return to the dark cover of the Everglades. 
No white man felt safe; every log, or cypress tree, 
or hummock of tall grass held a lurking savage or 
half-breed, with murderous intent, and then the 
friendly swamps would swallow up the murderer in 
their dark shadows. 

After the war had been going on for two years, 
Osceola came to General Jesup, Commander of 
troops in Florida, under a flag of truce. But no 
sooner did he enter the conference, with the rest of 
his followers, than General Jesup gave orders that 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 291 

he be arrested. He claimed that this was the only 
way in which he could stop the lawlessness of this 
murderous Chief, who never felt himself bound by 
any obligation to the Government. 

Osceola was sent to Charleston, and there con- 
fined in Fort Moultrie. For two years he lingered 
a prisoner, broken-hearted and ruined in health. 
At length, in 1839, he died of a fever, and was 
buried just outside the fort. 

The war went on for about seven years, and did 
not end until all the Indians were hunted from their 
hiding-places, and sent to new homes in the West. 



AN EARLY JOURNEY BY RAILROAD 

Those of us who travel on the railroad trains of 
to-day, over smooth rails and in comfortable seats, 
taking our meals in the dining-cars, going to sleep 
in berths by night, and waking up for breakfast 
at our destination several hundred miles away, 
present a strange contrast to those who had the 
discomfort of early travel. 

One of the first railroads of any size and impor- 
tance, ran between Charleston and Hamburg, S. C, 
opened in January, 1831. It was a curious-look- 
ing affair. The locomotive was small, and, fed 



292 AJVIERICA FIRST 



with fat pine, sent out clouds of smoke and red 
hot cinders. 

The coaches for the passengers were Hke huge 
barrels, mounted on trucks. The conductor walked 
on a little platform outside, and collected fares 
through small windows. The rails were flat, and 
the wheels ran in deep grooves. Not being se- 
curely fastened to the ties, the rails would some- 
times curve like snake heads, and run up through 
the bottom of the coach, much to • the peril and 
alarm of the passengers. 

When the road was opened, the stockholders 
made of the event a day of great rejoicing, though 
it was cold and cloudy and the journey any tiling 
but comfortable. Great crowds of people along the 
way met the train, and begged for a ride. At the 
end of the trip the smoke had so blackened the faces 
of the passengers that they looked like negroes. 

A sad accident befell the locomotive on one of 
its journeys. The negro fireman, tired of listening 
to the escaping steam, and thinking to save power, 
fastened down the steam valve, and then sat on 
it to make sure that it was closed. The steam 
mounted to exploding point, and the negro was 
blown into a nearby cotton patch. 

Another early railroad trip was across the Mo- 
hawk Valley. On this occasion, the engineer wore 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 293 

a dress-coat, out of compliment to some very dis- 
tinguished guests who were aboard. The carriages 
were the bodies of old stage-coaches placed upon 
trucks. After collecting the fares, the conductor 
mounted a seat on the tender of the locomotive, 
and blew some notes on a tin horn, to signify that 
all was ready. 

Amid the cheers of the crowd the locomotive 
started. The coaches were joined together by 
chains, and, as the slack w^as taken up, the passen- 
gers were jolted backward or forward, some of 
them being thrown from their seats. No one dared 
stand up, but held on to the seats for dear life. 

The fuel consisted of dry pitch, and, when the 
train was w^ell under way, a cloud of hot cinders, 
smoke, and sparks came from the funnel of the 
engine and poured into the coaches. After much 
coughing and rubbing of eyes, the passengers raised 
their umbrellas to shelter themselves. 

This, however, was no protection, for the um- 
brellas soon caught fire and had to be thrown 
overboard. The passengers, in a state of frantic 
fear, spent their time beating each other with 
handkerchiefs, hats, and canes, in order to put out 
the fire that momentarily threatened to catch the 
clothes and endanger the lives of every one. 

But that was nearly a hundred years ago. To- 



294 AMERICA FIRST 



day, if the railroad tracks of the United States 
were put in a straight line, they would reach nine 
times around the globe. One can travel across the 
continent, from ocean to ocean, with as much com- 
fort as he can have by staying in a hotel or at 
home. 

OLD HICKORY 

Andrew Jackson is one of the most picturesque 
characters in American history. He was born of 
Scotch-Irish parents on the border-line between 
North and South Carolina. His father died about 
the time he was born, and his mother had to sup- 
port her three boys by spinning flax. 

Jackson grew up to be a tall, slender lad, with 
red hair and a freckled face. He was very wild, 
quick-tempered, and mischievous. He had many 
quarrels with his companions, and many fights, 
but, at home, he was devoted to his mother, and 
showed kindness to the horses and other animals 
on the farm. He was a fearless rider, and all his 
life owned fine horses. 

When Jackson was fourteen years of age, the 
Revolution was still in progress. The British army 
had swept through the neighborhood of his home, 
and the boy had seen his relatives and neighbors 
suffering and dying. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 295 

The local church was used as a hospital, and 
Jackson's mother often went there to nurse the 
sick and wounded. Andrew and his brother Robert 
ran errands for her, and were in and out of the 
church so often that they soon became familiar 
with the horrors of war. 

At one time, Andrew and his brother were 
taken prisoners by the British, and were confined 
in the house of their own cousin. The English 
officers had everything they wished, and one of 
them ordered Jackson to clean his muddy boots. 

Andrew replied, "I am a prisoner of war, and 
not a servant or a slave. You may clean them 
yourself." 

This enraged the British officer to such an ex- 
tent that he struck at the boy with his sword, 
wounding him on his head and hand. Jackson 
carried the scars with him all his life. Robert also 
received rough treatment from the brutal officers. 

The boys were carried forty miles away, to a 
prison camp, and not allowed any food or water. 
There, smallpox broke out, and both boys were 
quite sick with it. Their mother secured their 
release, but Robert, suffering from wounds and 
fever, died two days after he reached home, and 
Andrew was ill for many weeks. Before he was 
quite well his mother also died. 



296 AMERICA FIRST 



At seventeen years of age, he began to study 
law. WTien he was twenty -one, he moved to Ten- 
nessee, and became a prominent lawyer in that 
new and wild country. In his efforts to preserve 
law and order among the frontiersmen and adven- 
turers of that section, he had many personal diffi- 
culties. He was hot-tempered and a good shot, 
and frontier life was rough. 

One day, when he was at a public dinner, some 
of his friends began to quarrel at the other end of 
the table from where Jackson was sitting. He im- 
mediately sprang upon the table, and strode along 
it, scattering the dishes and glasses as he went. 
Thrusting his hand behind him, he clicked his 
snuff-box. Thinking he was about to draw a pistol, 
the guests ran out in haste, crying in alarm, "Don't 
shoot, Mr. Jackson! Don't shoot!" 

Once, when Jackson was driving along the road, 
he was stopped by some drunken wagoners, who 
told him to dance, or they would cowhide him. 
Jackson coolly said, "I cannot dance in these 
heavy boots. Let me get my slippers out of my 
bag." 

To this the wagoners agreed, but, instead of 
slippers, he drew forth two big pistols. Pointing 
them at the wagoners, he said, "Now dance your- 
selves, or I will fill you full of bullets." The 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 297 

wagoners danced the best they could, while Jack- 
son roared with laughter. 

During the War of 1812, Jackson did great serv- 
ice as a soldier. He fought against the Indians 
in the South, and was prominent at the battle of 
New Orleans. A band of Creeks attacked Fort 
Mimms, in southern Alabama, and killed four or 
five hundred white people. Tennessee raised a 
body of troops to go after the Creeks and punish 
them. Jackson was chosen Commander. 

He was in bed at the time, suffering from wounds 
he had received in a quarrel two weeks before. 
His physician ordered him to stay where he was, 
but Jackson arose, put his arm in a sling, and, 
though almost fainting from weakness and loss of 
blood, he mounted his horse and started on the 
campaign. He was gone eight months, and the 
Creeks were severely punished. 

Once, during the campaign, some soldiers grew 
mutinous because food was scarce, and they 
threatened to leave. Jackson, with his arm in a 
sling, rode up to them, and, taking his pistol in 
his free hand, said, "By the eternal, I will shoot 
the first man that moves." The soldiers knew he 
would do it, and there was no further trouble. 

His endurance during this campaign earned for 
him the name of "Old Hickoiy," because he was 



298 AMERICA FIRST 



SO tough; and because, though he would often 
bend, he would not break. In appearance, he was 
tall, erect, and spare, with dark blue eyes and 
heavy eyebrows. All through life his temper was 
fiery, and easily aroused when he was opposed. 

His greatest fame, as a general, rests upon his 
victory over the British at the battle of New 
Orleans. Here, with a force of ill-prepared and 
untrained men, he gave a crushing defeat to a 
larger body of splendidly trained English soldiers. 
Over seven hundred of the enemy were killed, 
fourteen hundred were wounded, and five hundred 
were taken prisoners. Jackson had only eight men 
killed and fourteen wounded. 

He became President of the United States when 
he was past sixty years of age. He was always a 
plain man of the people, who hated his enemies 
and wanted them punished; and who loved his 
friends and wanted them rewarded. He was a 
strong-minded President, who had his own way 
without asking advice, and often his was a very 
good way. Even to this day, he is regarded as 
among the notable men who have held high 
positions. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 299 



DANIEL WEBSTER 

Daniel Webster was born on a farm in New 
Hampshire. He was the youngest of a family of 
ten children, and, as a child, was frail and delicate. 
For this reason, he was much petted by his parents 
and brothers and sisters, and was allowed to run 
free in the forests and fields near his home, in the 
hope that this freedom and exercise would bring 
him strength of body. 

His mother and sisters taught him to read. In 
after years, he said he could not remember the 
time when he could not read the Bible. He had 
a very retentive memory. 

His voice was musical, and when he read aloud, 
he gave great pleasure to those who heard him. 
Often, the men who came to his father's mill 
would get him to read to them while they waited 
for their meal to be ground. Sometimes the 
farmers, passing the house where he lived, stopped 
for an hour or two to rest their horses, and then 
they always sent for the boy, and generally they 
would say, "Daniel, read us something from the 
Bible." 

Daniel had a brother, named Ezekiel, two years 



300 AMERICA FIRST 



older than himself, of whom he was very fond. 
This brother always watched over the delicate boy, 
and kept him from too much exertion. The father 
told Ezekiel to let Daniel help him, especially in 
the light work of the farm. Once, the boys' father 
returned home from a trip, and asked Ezekiel 
what he had been doing. 

"Nothing, sir," replied the boy. 

The father then asked Daniel what he had 
been doing. 

"I have been helping Zeke, sir," said Daniel, 
with a smile. 

One day, when Daniel was at the village store, 
he saw a handkerchief for sale, on which was 
printed a copy of the Constitution of the United 
States. He resolved to be the owner of that 
handkerchief, and saved enough pennies to buy it. 
WTien at last he bought it, he did not rest until 
he had learned the whole great dociunent by 
heart. In after years, he became its most able 
exponent and defender. 

Webster's father was poor, and with but little 
learning himself. He was wise enough, however, 
to know the value of education. He told his son 
he intended to send him to college. Webster was 
so anxious to go that, for a moment, he could not 
speak for emotion. He afterwards said, *'A warm 



STORIES OF OUR 0^^'X fflSTORY 301 

glow ran all over me, and I laid my head on my 
father's shoulder and wept." 

He became one of the greatest orators this coun- 
try has produced, but, at first, he was much 
frightened when he stood before an audience. At 
school the boys made fun of him and of his clothes. 
Such ridicule caused him to be sensitive. 

He said of this time, "Many a piece did I com- 
mit to memory, and rehearse it in my room over 
and over again. But when the day came, and all 
my companions were on hand, gazing at me, and 
I was required to stand before them, I was so 
frightened that I could not utter a word." 

After leaving college, Webster began his law 
career in his native state. He moved to Boston 
later on, where he built up a large practice. He 
was soon called into political life, and spent thirty 
years in the service of his state. He was a close 
student of the Constitution, an orator of tremen- 
dous force, and a profound thinker on all political 
questions of his day. 

Webster overcame the weakness of his boyhood 
days, and grew into a vigorous man. His ap- 
pearance was noble, sturdy, and dignified. His 
eyes were dark, and his brow was massive. People 
said, ""VMien Webster walks the streets of Boston, 
he makes the buildings look small." Once he 



AMKRIC.V FIRST 



visilod Europe, aiul some one, passing him in the 
street, remarked, ''Surely, there goes a king." A 
great wit, kioking at his dignified appearance, de- 
ckired, "ITe is a small cathedral by himself." 
Some one else said, **I hardly believe any man can 
be as great as ]Mr. AVebster looks." 

He is best known for his wonderful oration in 
defense of the powers of the Constitution to main- 
tain an unbroken union of the states. A great 
debate was held in the Senate of the United States 
on the subject, and against Webster was Robert 
Y. llayne, of South Carohna, who spoke on the 
right of a state to declare null and void within its 
borders any act passed by Congress. 

Ilayne made a great argument, and Webster re- 
])lied to him the next day. lie had but one night 
for preparation, but he remarked to a friend, 
"That is enough. All my life I have been mak- 
ing readv for this occasion." On the morning of 
his reply, he said, "The people shall learn this 
day, before tl\e sun goes down, what I understand 
the Constitution to be." 

When he spoke, tlie galleries were crowded, the 
senators were all in their places, and every one 
realized a crisis was at hand. Webster took foiu* 
hours, delivering one of the greatest speeches of 
his life. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 303 

At the laying of the corner-stone of Bunker 
Hill monument, he delivered another great oration. 
Thousands of persons were present, and the crowd 
pressed forward so eagerly that they came neat 
carrying away the platform on which the speakers 
were sitting. 

Webster appealed to them to stand back. "We 
cannot, Mr. Webster," they cried; "it is impos- 
sible." "Impossible!" thundered the great orator, "I 
tell you that nothing is impossible on Bunker Hill." 

The people, moved by his eloquent words, rolled 
back like waves from the shore. 



HENRY CLAY 

This is the story of a poor boy, who, through 
his own energy and ability, rose to a position of 
power and usefulness. There are many such stories 
to be told in the history of our country. 

Henry Clay was born in Virginia. His father 
died when he was a child, leaving a large family 
and a small farm. The brave mother had to 
struggle hard to provide for her children, and 
could give them but a limited education. All the 
schooling Henry had, he gained in a little log- 
cabin in the country. 



304 AMERICA FIRST 



He had to work on the farm, and to help around 
the house. This meant getting up at daybreak, 
and going to bed early. As soon as he was big 
enough to guide a plow, he was intrusted with 
the plowing and cultivating. All this gave him 
vigor of body and independence of mind. 

One of his duties was to ride an old horse to 
the mill, with a bag of corn or wheat for a saddle, 
and to bring back the meal or flour for the use of 
the family. In after years, he was called "the 
millboy of the Slashes," because the Slashes was 
the name of the district in which he lived. 

When Clay was about fifteen, he moved to 
Richmond, and became a copying clerk in one of 
the Courts. It was his duty to keep a copy of 
the records. Wlien he first entered the office, he 
was tall and awkward, and was dressed in a badly 
fitting suit of homespun clothes which his mother 
had made for him. But Clay had a genial, sunny 
nature, which did not mind what others said of 
him, and he soon made many friends. 

Moreover, he was a careful clerk who wrote a 
good hand. Whenever the Judge wished a record 
particularly well done, he selected Clay for the 
job. When the day's work was over. Clay would 
go home to read, while the other clerks went out 
for amusement. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 305 



He now began to study law, and was soon 
admitted to the bar. He felt that he could be- 
come a great orator, and made special effort to 
train his voice and memory. He would read some 
good book, such as a history, and then attempt to 
recite the words or repeat the sense of what he 
had just read. In this way he learned history, 
and cultivated an excellent command of language. 

It was also his custom to go into the woods, 
sometimes in his barn, and try out his speeches. 
He would select some subject, think carefully over 
all he wished to say upon it, and then rehearse by 
himself, or with only the cattle as audience. Thus 
he acquired the power of continuous speech. 

He organized a debating club among the young 
men of Richmond, and they met regularly to dis- 
cuss the burning questions which w^ere then dis- 
turbing the pubhc mind. In all these ways — by 
study, practice, and persistence, — he laid the 
foundation for his great career as a lawyer and 
statesman. 

WTien Clay was twenty-one, he moved to Ken- 
tucky and began to practice law. He was success- 
ful from the start, and had many clients. It was 
said that no murderer, who was defended by Clay, 
ever suffered the extreme penalty of the law. His 
nature was sympathetic, especially toward the poor, 



306 AMERICA FIRST 



and he was always glad to take their cases, and 
see that they secured justice. 

Throughout his life, he was most polite and at- 
tentive in his manners. At one time, he was riding 
with his young son, when they met a negro who 
lifted his hat most respectfully. Clay replied to 
the greeting, but the son did not notice the old 
man. Clay turned to his son and said, "My boy, 
will you allow a negro slave to be more polite 
than you are.f^ Courtesy towards others is always 
the mark of a true gentleman." 

So pleasing was Clay in his manners that, upon 
one occasion, a political enemy refused to be intro- 
duced to him, saying, ''I am afraid to meet Mr. 
Clay for fear his fine manners will change my 
opposition to him into admiration and support." 

He held many public oflSces, and served the 
country most notably during a long life. He was 
greatly beloved by the people of Kentucky, so 
much so that it became a common jest to say, 
"WTien Henry Clay takes snuff, everybody in 
Kentucky sneezes." But he could not please all 
the time, and often had to explain to his people 
the reasons for his actions. 

Upon one occasion an old hunter became dis- 
satisfied with the way Clay had voted upon cer- 
tain measures, and declared he would not support 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 307 

him again. Clay met him a few days before the 
election, and said to him, 

"You have a fine rifle that has not often failed 
you. Sometimes, however, it flashes in the pan, 
and it does not go off. Do you throw it away, or 
do you try it again .f^" 

The hunter looked at Clay, and replied, 

"Well, I pick the flint, and wipe out the barrel, 
and try it again. Any rifle will flash sometimes." 

"Well," responded Clay, "I am a pretty good 
rifle, and if I have flashed in the pan once or 
twice, why throw me away.^" 

The man agreed that this suggestion was just, 
and voted for Clay the rest of his life. 

Henry Clay always used his powers of persua- 
sion to keep peace and harmony among the quarrel- 
ing sections of the country. He tried to avert 
strife and war, and to be a peace-maker. For this 
reason he is called "The Great Pacificator." 

He was a statesman of rare courage, as well as 
of remarkable power. He never went against his 
conscience for the sake of retaining ofiice or of 
winning high positions. Once, when told that cer- 
tain measures of his on compromising the disputes 
about slavery would ruin his chances to become 
President, he replied, 

"I would rather be right than be President/' 



308 AMERICA FIRST 



He never ivas President, though he was a can- 
didate for that high office. But it is to his greater 
fame that he would not sacrifice any principle to 
win popular favor, or high position, or private 
gain. He was really a great man, for his policy 
was to do without rather than do what he thought 
was wrong. 



CHRISTMAS ON THE PLANTATION 

In the old days, before the Civil War, plantation 
life in Virginia was very attractive; with its big 
white house set beside the road, and surrounded 
with old-fashioned shrubs and great spreading trees. 
The Major was a genial and kindly host, and 
a most considerate master to the great family of 
slaves that worked his broad acres and loved him 
and his wife. The two were called "Old Marster" 
and "Old Miss," by these faithful servants who 
had grown up on the place, and regarded the big 
house as their home. They knew no other, and 
cared for no other. 

The great plantation festival of the year was 
Christmas. The house was filled with guests, with 
members of the family who came from far and 
near, and with the boys and girls from school. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 309 

Everybody was busy and happy — from the master 
and mistress down to the youngest dusky "hand" 
that worked the plantation. All labor w^as laid 
aside; the crops had been gathered and stored, 
the wood had been cut, the hogs had been killed, 
the lard tried out, and the sausage meat made. 
There was plenty to eat and wear, and the time 
had come to make merry. 

For days before Christmas, preparations had been 
going on. The mince-meat was chopped for the 
pies, cakes were baked, the turkeys were killed 
and hung up, and the pantry was filled to over- 
flowing with good things brought in the great 
wagons from town. The mistress had bought pres- 
ents for everybody on the place, old and young, 
white and black, with candy, oranges, nuts, and 
raisins in abundance. Wagons had been going back 
and forth, the drivers laughing and happy in 
spite of the frosty air and heavy roads, bringing 
bundles and bags to be stored away until, on 
Christmas morning, the presents would be dis- 
tributed. Every "hand" on the place expected a 
Christmas gift, and no one was disappointed. 

In the woods, the axes had been busy cutting 
tough hickory for the big fires. Other wood might 
do for other seasons, but Christmas needed the 
sparkle and crackle of hickory, with its leaping 



310 AMERICA FIRST 



flames and red glow. The wagons hauled the 
Yule logs into the yard, where they were piled 
for use. Then evergreens were gathered and holly 
and mistletoe and bamboo were brought for deco- 
rating the parlor, hall and dining-room. Wreaths 
were made for the windows, and bunches of mistle- 
toe for the chandeliers and arches. The house cer- 
tainly looked very gay and cheerful! 

In all this work the young men and maidens 
joined with many a merry joke. Who would stand 
under the mistletoe to be kissed .^^ Who would 
hang up their stockings? What presents would 
each receive.'^ These were questions in the minds 
of every one. The Major, white haired and smiling, 
was everywhere, beaming with happiness over his 
family, and his devoted slaves and servants. 

And now Christmas Eve. Snow was falling, a 
white, fleecy covering for the ground like a velvet 
carpet. The cedars in the yard bent beneath their 
crystal burden. It was just cold enough to make 
the great leaping flre feel comfortable. The serv- 
ants were busy in the kitchen putting finishing 
touches to the pies and puddings, cakes and tarts, 
— enough to feed an army. The house was ablaze 
with light, and the windows glowed a welcome in- 
vitation to those who might be coming for the 



holidays. 




">Vho would stand under the mistletoe?' 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 311 



The wagons soon began to arrive, bringing the 
boys and girls from school, the guests to spend a 
day or two, or relatives and friends. Every room 
in the house would be filled with a laughing, jolly 
party. The Major and his Avife stood at the open 
door, and kissed everybody who came. The serv- 
ants, down at the Quarters, were getting ready 
also, singing and laughing, playing the banjo, and 
wondering which one of them would be the first 
to call out *' Christmas Gift" to "Old Marster" 
and "Old Miss." 

Morning — Christmas morning ! The stir began 
long before the sun had risen, the children, stealing 
like httle ghosts up to the fireplaces to get 
their stockings so as to see what Santa Claus had 
brought. Soon, the doors opened and shut, and 
the cries of "Merry Christmas" could be heard 
from room to room. Then a great shout outside; 
the negroes had come to call "Christmas Gift" — 
a happy, contented crowd, jostling each other, 
every one of them smiling, and anxious to be the 
first to see the white folks. 

Breakfast was a merry meal. The presents were 
distributed, useful articles as well as ornamental 
ones, the negroes bowing and bobbing their thanks, 
as they bore away their treasures. It was the rule 
for everybody to go to church on Christmas, and 



312 AMERICA FIRST 



this custom was sacredly observed. The venerable 
pastor preached a sermon of praise and thanks- 
giving for life's many blessings. Then home, 
through the snow, to a dinner which was the great 
event of the day! 

The table was a sight to do your heart good. 
The solid old mahogany boards groaned beneath 
their load of food. In the place of honor, was the 
big "gobbler," brown as a berry, and stuffed with 
chestnuts and sausages. There were also a huge 
roast of venison and a big country ham. Every 
kind of vegetable that could be had was served — 
sweet potatoes, rice and macaroni in abundance. 
Then pies, cake, jellies, syllabub followed, and there 
seemed no end to the feast. All the time, the 
room rang with good cheer, fun and jokes, while 
the Major and his wife sat looking on — all smiles 
and happiness. 

Down in the Quarters, the negroes were having 
their feast also, — almost as bountiful and certainly 
as good as that at the big house. Then followed 
dancing and, maybe, a marriage, to celebrate the 
day, while they praised the "Old Marster" and 
the "Old Miss" for their goodness and kindness. 

The day came to an end at last, as all happy 
days do! Can there ever be such times as those 
on the old plantation, where a kind-hearted mas- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 313 

ter shared his abundance with those he loved and 
owned, and Uved in peace, comfort and security 
because he hved in kindness and good-will? 



JOHN C. CALHOUN 

Webster, Clay, and Calhoun are known as the 
great trio. They were all poor boys, they all 
worked on farms, and became great by force of 
keen intellect, hard study, and high resolve. They 
lived about the same time, and were concerned 
with the same great national questions. 

Calhoun was born and reared in South Carolina. 
When he was a boy, he worked in the fields with 
his father, and listened to stories of the Revolu- 
tion, as the two sat by the fire on winter nights. 
From the first he loved to listen to the deeds of 
great men. 

He grew up to be a quiet, thoughtful, studious 
boy, fond of rambling through the woods, and 
equally as fond of reading history. The schools at 
that time were poor, and Calhoun did not have 
much chance to get an education. Besides, he 
had to work on the farm. 

He spent his spare time reading such books as 
he could borrow from his friends, or buy from his 



3U AMERICA FIRST 



small stock of money. When his father died, he 
took charge of the farm. He soon determmed that 
he would be a farmer for life. 

His brother, however, would not hear of this; 
he wanted John to be a professional man. Ar- 
rangements, therefore, were made to send him to 
school for two years, and then to Yale College for 
the study of law. 

He was about twenty years of age when he 
entered Yale, and he became the leader of his 
class. He sometimes would get into discussions 
with the President of the College over political 
matters, and expressed himself so openly and 
so ably that the President became filled with 
admiration. 

Upon one occasion, Calhoun was asked his views 
on a certain point in politics. He arose and stated 
them so clearly and powerfully that the President 
of Yale was thunderstruck! He afterwards said, 
"That young man, Calhoun, is able, very able. 
He will become a great man, possibly the Presi- 
dent of the United States." 

But, like Webster and Clay, Calhoun was des- 
tined never to reach that high office. His very 
greatness made him unsuited to the demands of 
political campaigns. Such men as Calhoun need 
no office to fix their places in history. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 315 

After studying law for several years, he began 
to practice in South Carolina, but he confessed he 
did not enjoy it. He called reading law *'a dry 
and solitary journey." He preferred history, and 
loved to study and discuss the political issues of 
the day. 

He soon entered public life, and was sent to 
Congress just about the time the War of 1812 
began. His associates were charmed w^ith his 
powers of oratory. His great blue eyes glowed like 
coals of fire, his hair fell in masses about his broad 
forehead, and his full voice poured forth a rich 
volume of ringing words. 

TOien Andrew Jackson was President, Calhoun 
had become one of the great leaders of the nation. 
It was the time of heated agitation over the ques- 
tion of the tariff. The Northern States wanted a 
heavy tariff to protect the home manufacture of 
goods, thus keeping out foreign competition. The 
Southern States wanted a low tariff, or none at all, 
so that they could buy goods anywhere at the 
cheapest prices. 

It was a bitter controversy between the two sec- 
tions, and Calhoun was ever the leader of the 
Southern States in their demand for a low tariff. 
At last, when the protective tariff bill of 1832 was 
passed, Calhoun wrote a letter to the people of 



316 AMERICA FIRST 



South Carolina, advising them not to submit to it. 

"It is unjust to the people of the South. It 
makes them pay high prices for everything they 
buy. It takes money out of their pockets, and 
puts money into the purses of the Northern manu- 
facturer," he argued. 

The Northern manufacturers replied, '* Without 
the tariff, we shall have to close our mills; we can- 
not go on with low prices for we cannot make the 
goods at such a rate. Our workmen will be dis- 
missed, and our mills will be idle." 

Thus the two sections stood on the subject of 
the tariff. Callioun advised the Legislature of 
South Carolina to nullify the tariff law, so far as 
that state was concerned. South Carolina followed 
his advice, and passed an ordinance to that effect. 
Thus, Callioun led his state into open opposition 
to the laws of Congress. 

President Jackson was resolved to carry out the 
laws, and he would have forced a conflict with 
South Carolina had not wiser measures prevailed 
to prevent a rupture. 

Clay proposed a compromise, which both sec- 
tions could agree to, and argued this remedy with 
so much force that South Carolina withdrew her 
ordinance, and the tariff was modified. Thus the 
crisis passed. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 317 

Calhoun was in public office for nearly forty 
years. He was the great leader of the Southern 
people, the advocate of States' Rights and a firm 
believer in the institution of slavery. He was 
truly a great man, in whom there was no low or 
selfish motive. 



THE HEROES OF THE ALAMO 

The Alamo is a fort in the town of San Antonio, 
Texas. It was built by the early Spaniards for a 
Mission; though the walls were strong and thick, 
they were only eight feet high, and ill-adapted for 
defense. Unsuitable as it was for warlike purposes, 
the Alamo was destined to be the center of one of 
the most heroic conflicts in American history. 

Soon after Texas had declared her independence 
of Mexico, and had became a Republic, the Texans 
drove the Mexicans out of San Antonio, and took 
possession of the town. Santa Anna, the President 
of Mexico, swore vengeance against the rebels, and 
sent an army to punish them. It would have been 
well if the Texans had retreated, for they were few 
in strength, and poorly provided with food and 
ammunition, while the Mexican army numbered 
thousands. 



318 AMERICA FIRST 



But the Texans were heroes, and had no thought 
of retreating. When Santa Anna appeared near 
the town, the Httle force of two hundred Texans, 
under command of Colonel Travis, withdrew into 
the Alamo, and prepared for defense. The Colonel 
wrote a letter to his friends, in which he said, "I 
am determined to sustain myself as long as pos- 
sible, and die like a soldier who never forgets what 
is due to his own honor or that of his country." 

Among the defenders of the fort was David 
Crockett, the famous hunter of West Tennessee. 
He possessed wonderful skill with his rifle, which 
he called "Old Betty," and rarely missed a shot. 
Besides that, he was always' in good humor, with 
lots of fine stories of his own adventures to tell. 
No wonder he was greatly beloved by all who 
knew him. Another defender of the Alamo was 
Colonel James Bowie, the inventor of the Bowie 
knife, a terrible weapon in the hands of a strong 
and resulute man. 

Santa Anna planted his cannon around the 
Alamo, and began a steady bombardment. He 
waved a blood-red flag before the town to show the 
Texans what they might expect if they were over- 
come. Knowing their fate, the band of two hun- 
dred began their stout resistance. 

At the close of the third day, Santa iiima's 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 319 

forces had increased to four thousand men, and 
the Texans were already worn out by excessive 
toil and watching. The end was not far off. The 
brave defenders knew that an assault would carry 
the fort; they were doomed. Travis called his 
soldiers, and assigned them their places. 

"Men, you are worn out by three days of fight- 
ing, with little rest, and scant food. Outside are 
thousands of Mexicans thirsting for your blood and 
mine. They are getting ready to make an assault 
upon this fort. All I ask of you is to fight to the 
very last, and die like men." 

They went to their posts, grimly determined 
to slay as many Mexicans as they could before 
they, themselves, were slain. All night long the 
watch was kept up. At daybreak the Mexicans 
advanced with scaling-ladders, which they placed 
against the walls. Up these ladders, the Mexican 
soldiers clambered, only to be hurled back by the 
defenders at the top. Again and again the Mexi- 
cans rushed up, and again and again were they met 
with bullet, knife, and club. Hundreds fell, but 
there were still hundreds to take their places. 

After several hours, the defenders were ex- 
hausted; the assailants by hundreds climbed over 
the walls, and attacked them from all sides. James 
Bowie, too ill to stay in the fight, had crept to 



320 AMERICA FIRST 



his rooms and his bed. Here some Mexicans found 
him, and cruelly stabbed him to death; then they 
mutilated his body. 

Davy Crockett stood in one room, surrounded 
by dozens of his enemy, his rifle in hand. He had 
long since fired his last bullet, and had brought 
down dozens of his foes. Now, using his gun as 
a club, he laid about him, right and left, felling 
Mexicans at every blow. At length, the brave 
hunter fell, pierced with many bullets. Not far 
away Colonel Travis was doing noble service. 
With a dozen Mexicans surrounding him, he hurled 
his great gun about his head, and mowed them 
down like grain. But he could not withstand the 
numbers, and fell amidst his victims. 

It was soon over. All the defenders, to a man, 
were slain, not one being left alive. But of the 
Mexicans, more than five hundred died on that 
bloody day. A thrill of horror went through 
Texas and the whole country, when news of this 
tragedy became known. In the subsequent battles 
between Texas and Mexico, the battle-cry of the 
Texans was, "Remember the Alamo! Remember 
the Alamo!" 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 321 



SAM HOUSTON WINS FREEDOM 
FOR TEXAS 

You have been told the story of the Alamo. 
The patriots of Texas had still other grievances 
against Santa Anna and the Mexicans. The de- 
fenders of Fort Goliad, led by Colonel Fannin, 
with over four hundred men, had surrendered, and 
had been given solemn assurance of protection. 
They were immediately divided into small com- 
panies, marched in different directions out of town, 
and shot in cold blood, not a man being left alive. 
This was a merciless massacre, and infuriated the 
Texans still more. 

Santa Anna now thought he was a conqueror. 
He had dealt with Travis, at the Alamo, and with 
Colonel Fannin, at Fort Goliad, but he still had 
Sam Houston to deal with. We shall now see how 
Santa Anna met his fate. 

General Sam Houston was the leader of the 
Texans in their revolt against Mexico. His army 
was small, not more than seven or eight hundred 
men, and he had to watch very carefully for an 
opportunity to fight his stronger antagonist. At 
last, Houston took a stand at the San Jacinto 



322 AMERICA FIRST 



River, and resolved, then and tliere, to pay the 
score for the Mexican outrages. 

It was not long before the enemy came in sight. 
Their bugles rang over the plains as the vanguard 
approached, eighteen hundred strong. They were 
very showy in appearance, but Houston knew they 
were not much, as soldiers and fighters. He grimly 
watched their coming. Turning to his men, he 
addressed them thus, 

"Men, there come the Mexicans, and with them 
is Santa Anna. They are many times our num- 
ber, but they are Mexicans and we are Texans. 
If you wish to fight, here is your chance and now 
is the time. Remember, it is for liberty or it is 
for death. Men, remember the Alamo!" 

His soldiers shouted, "We are ready, and we 
remember everything." 

As they stood behind their breast works, await- 
ing the attack, a soldier rode up to General Hous- 
ton and saluted. He said, "General, I have cut 
down the bridge, according to your orders." Hous- 
ton smiled, and nodded his head, for he knew now 
that Santa Anna could not escape across the river, 
should he be defeated. 

The day wore on, and the Mexican army halted, 
about noon, to rest and prepare for the attack. 
The soldiers began to cook their food, the oflficers 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 323 

lay down, and Santa Anna went to sleep. Houston 
said to his men, "Why wait for them to attack? 
Let us take them unawares." 

The word was passed along the line, and, in a 
few moments, the whole Texan army was in 
double-quick, headed for the Mexican camp. As 
they ran, they shouted, "Remember the Alamo! 
Remember Goliad!" 

The Mexicans sprang to their arms, the officers 
leaped from their couches, and Santa Anna woke 
up. It was too late, however, for the Texans 
were upon them. The Mexicans fired on the ap- 
proaching troops with little effect. A ball struck 
General Houston in the ankle, inflicting a painful 
wound, but the old hero kept his saddle until the 
action was over. 

The Mexicans began to give way before the well- 
ordered advance and constant fire of the Texans. 
In fifteen minutes, they were in a panic of flight, 
the Texans in mad pursuit, filling the air with 
their cries, "Remember the Alamo! Remember 
Goliad!" The Mexicans dropped everything and 
fled. Behind them they left their cannon loaded, 
and their cooked food untouched. Some awoke 
just in time to flee, not waiting to dress. Others, 
playing games, threw down their cards, and hurried 
away as the Texans entered their tents. 



324 AMERICA FIRST 



The pursuit was kept up till night, by which 
time most of the Mexicans were prisoners of war. 
Over six hundred were killed, while over seven 
hundred were captured. Everything was taken, 
and Santa Anna escaped. 

The next day, a body of Texan cavalry, scouring 
the country for prisoners, and especially watchful 
for Santa Anna himself, saw a Mexican, whom 
they called upon to surrender. The Mexican threw 
himself upon the grass and covered his head with 
a blanket. They had to drag him to his feet, 
before he would answer them at all. 

He then kissed the hand of the leader of the 
party, and said he was but a private soldier. He 
was much frightened, and begged them not to kill 
him. Noticing his fine clothes and jewelry, the 
soldiers took him back to camp. As they passed 
some Mexican prisoners, they heard one of them 
cry, "The President! The President! Santa 
Anna! Santa Anna!" 

It was the infamous leader, the President of 
Mexico, who was now a trembling captive before 
General Houston, who spared his life. His capture 
put an end to Mexico's invasion of Texas, and 
made Houston the idol of the people of that young 
republic. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 325 



THE INVENTION OF THE ELECTRIC 

TELEGRAPH 

A packet-ship, named the Sully, was slowly 
making its way across the ocean from Havre to 
New York. Among the passengers was a New 
York artist, named Samuel F. B. Morse, who had 
been studying painting in Europe, and was on his 
way home. He had once been a student at Yale 
College, where he had become much interested in 
chemistry and other sciences. 

In the cabin, one day, the passengers began talk- 
ing about improvements in electricity. One of 
them mentioned that Franklin had sent a current 
through several miles of wire, with no loss of time 
between the touch at one end and the spark at 
the other; also that recent experiments in Paris 
had proved conclusively that a current went almost 
instantaneously through a great length of wire run 
in circles around the walls of a large apartment. 
Morse hstened attentively to the conversation. 

"If it is true that a current passes so swiftly 
through a great length of wire, why could not 
messages be sent over the wire at any distance?" 
he inquired. The others agreed that it would be 



326 AMERICA FIRST 



a splendid thing if it could be proven possible. 
Then the subject was dropped. But INIorse was 
not a man to forget, and he kept the idea con- 
stantly in his mind. 

Day after day, the ship made its way home- 
ward, while Morse worked in his cabin on plans 
for sending messages by electricity. Before the 
voyage was ended, he had made drawings of an 
electric telegraph, and had devised the Morse 
alphabet of dots and dashes, the system used 
to-day the world over in telegraphy. His plans 
included laying the wires underground, afterwards 
abandoned in favor of stringing them in the air 
from pole to pole. 

Before he left the ship, he said to some of his 
fellow-passengers, "I believe it will be possible to 
send a message around the world some day." 
Then he turned to the Captain: *'If you ever 
hear of the telegraph as one of the wonders of the 
world, remember that it was invented on the 
Sully. ^' The Captain was more skeptical than 
the hopeful inventor. 

When Morse reached home, he began to work 
upon his great invention, but progress was slow. 
For he had to make a living; he was poor, and had 
no one to provide money for his experiments. At 
the end of three years, he had a circuit of seven- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 327 

teen hundred feet of wire, and a wooden clock, by- 
means of which he succeeded in sending sounds 
from end to end of the wire. But it was not very 
satisfactory, and those who witnessed its workings 
were not at all inclined to invest money in the 
enterprise. 

Morse worked hard and neglected his business 
as an artist. He fell into abject want, and became 
poorer and poorer. He often went a whole day 
without food. Still, he kept to his invention, and 
did not once lose faith. It is of such courage and 
endurance that success always is made. 

Unable to secure private help, Morse went to 
Washington and exhibited his apparatus to some 
Congressman. Then he petitioned Congress for an 
appropriation to build a line from Baltimore to 
Washington, a distance of forty miles. But Con- 
gress w^as slow to act, and offered Morse little 
hope. Day after day passed, and nothing was 
done. 

Finally, the last day and indeed the last hour 
of the session of Congress arrived. Morse, in des- 
pair, had left the capitol building, and had gone 
to his house, the last hope of securing any appro- 
priation having fled. He felt discouraged and dis- 
appointed, and was almost ready to give up the 
fight. 



328 AMERICA FIRST 



At the breakfast-table the next morning, a 
young lady, Miss Annie Ellsworth, met him with 
a smile. *'I have come to congratulate you, Mr. 
Morse, on the passage of your bill. Congress 
granted you the money at the very last hour." 

Morse was delighted over the news. Congress 
had given him thirty thousand dollars. He could 
hardly believe his good fortune. It had been 
eleven years since he first conceived the idea, and 
he had surrendered the best part of his life to 
working out his plans. He now saw success before 
him, and entered with renewed hope upon his great 
labor. 

The work was hastened. Morse found out that 
underground wires would be expensive and uncer- 
tain; hence he used poles. The telegraph was 
started from the Washington end, and a year 
passed before thirty miles of poles were set. The 
wires were tested as they were placed, and INIorse 
was in constant communication with both ends of 
the line. 

The first pubhc test of the telegraph was made 
on May 11, 1844. The Whig National Conven- 
tion, in Baltimore, had, on that day, nominated 
Henry Clay for the Presidency. The telegraph 
line was still ten miles from Baltimore. A train 
full of passengers started from Baltimore to carry 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 329 



the news of the nomination of Clay to Washing- 
ton. When they reached the telegraph wire, Morse 
quietly asked for the news, and sent it on ahead. 

The train arrived in Washington an hour or two 
later, and the passengers were surprised to find 
that the news they brought was already old news, 
for everybody in Washington had learned of it 
over the telegraph! This was a convincing proof 
that the telegraph could be used to convey intel- 
ligence; there was no longer a doubt of its value. 

By May 24, the line was completed to Balti- 
more, and all the tests made. Everything was 
ready for the public exhibition of what the tele- 
graph could do; the way was open for sending 
and receiving messages. Miss Ellsworth, who, 
more than a year before, had delighted the inven- 
tor by bringing him good news of the action of 
Congress, was given the privilege of sending the 
first message. She chose this line from the Bible: 



"what hath god wrought." 



With these words the telegraph was born, and 
its use was spread to all lands. By its means, one 
can communicate in a few hours with family or 
friend in the most distant parts of the earth. The 
happenings of each day, the world over, are 
gathered in the daily papers by its means; busi- 
ness transactions are made in a few minutes across 



330 AIVIERICA FIRST 



continents, and over seas. The telegraph has 
brought the people of the world Into closer com- 
munication, has annihilated space and time, and 
expedited the world's business a thousandfold. 
And all because one man conceived a great idea, 
and would not give up until success had crowned 
his efforts. 



THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN 
CALIFORNIA 

It had been the dream of the early explorers of 
America to find gold. Thousands had come to 
these shores in search of the precious metal. 
Many of them had died in their efforts, all of 
them endured great suffering, and, in the end, 
each one of them was disappointed. For over 
three hundred years the earth kept secret its hid- 
ing-place for gold in the New World. 

After the Mexican War, California became a 
territory of the United States. Already a number 
of settlers were there, attracted by the fertile soil 
and fine chmate. Among them was Captain John 
Sutter, who had moved to California from St. 
Louis about ten years before the Mexican War. 

Captain Sutter had built a fort on the site of 
the present city of Sacramento. About fifty miles 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 331 

above it, in 1848, he was having built a saw-mill 
on the American River. The mill was finished 
and started, when the tail-race was found to be 
too small to carry off the water. To deepen the 
race, the whole head of water was turned on to 
wash it out to the required depth. 

One of the men, named Marshall, who had 
charge of the mill, watched the w^ork of the water, 
and saw many shining particles lodged in the 
crevices of the rocks, or in the dirt the water had 
carried down. Thinking these particles might be 
gold, he gathered a small bag of them, without 
saying anything to anybody about his suspicions. 

As soon as he could leave, without attracting 
notice, he mounted his horse, and rode to the 
fort, fifty miles away, in order to show what he 
had found. He asked to see Sutter alone. 

Sutter was surprised at the earnest manner of 
his foreman, and led the way into his private 
room; here he locked the door. "What is the 
matter, Marshall? Is anything wrong at the 
mill.^" asked he. 

"Nothing is wrong at the mill, sir," replied 
Marshall, "but I have something here to show 
you that may surprise you." 

He then handed his employer the bag, which, 
being opened, was found to contain a handful of 



332 AMERICA FIRST 



yellow metal, in small flakes and little lumps, 
which he said he had taken from the mill-race, 
and which he thought might be gold. 

The two men by the light of a candle bent 
eagerly over the little heap of shining particles. 
Sutter could not believe it was gold. Marshall 
declared it was nothing else. Acid was applied, 
the metal was weighed, and other tests were used, 
until there was no doubt of the fact. 

"You have found gold," said Sutter at last. 
"But let no one know of it until I can set my 
house in order; for this knowledge will change 
everything here." 

His was an idle request. The next day the 
secret leaked out at the fort, and the news went 
at once to the mill. In a week, it was known for 
miles around, and everybody was saying to every- 
body else, "Gold has been found at Sutter's 
Mill." ' 

Sutter's men deserted him in a body, and the 
saw-mill was left without hands to run it. Every 
settler and Indian in the neighborhood began 
searching the streams, the gullies, the mountain 
sides, and the bed of the river for gold particles. 
The miners then began to straggle down to San 
Francisco with their pouches of gold-dust, and to 
show them to the people there. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 333 



This was enough to start a panic rush for the 
gold fields. In three months most of the houses 
in San Francisco, and in Monterey, were shut up, 
and their occupants turned in mad haste for the 
hills. Sailors left their ships in the harbor, car- 
penters abandoned their benches, la^vyers closed 
their offices, physicians deserted ' their patients, 
even the newspapers suspended indefinitely. 

Everybody who could get a shovel and a pan, 
and a week's supply of provisions, was off for the 
mines. The people were as wild for gold-hunting 
as ever were the Spaniards of former days. 

The result was that mills were left idle, fields 
of wheat were turned over to the horses and 
cattle, houses became vacant, and farms went to 
w^aste. People had no thought for food or any- 
thing else. 

Tents were built near the mines, and along the 
river-beds where the gold was found. There were 
fabulous stories of men who made fifty dollars a 
day. One miner, with a common tin pan, washed 
out gold to the value of eighty-two dollars in a 
single day. A man who made less than ten dollars 
a day was not considered a good miner. 

Prices went bounding higher and higher. Flour 
was worth fifty dollars a barrel, a common spade 
sold for ten dollars, rooms were rented for a hun- 



334 AMERICA FIRST 



dred dollars a month each, and a simple two- 
story house at Sutter's fort brought five hundred 
dollars a month as a hotel. 

In the meanwhile, gold was found in other 
areas. Every day new stories were heard of some 
rich "find" somewhere, followed by a mad rush to 
the place. In a few months, four thousand people, 
half of whom were Indians, were washing for gold, 
as if it were the only business in life. 

Vessels, returning from San Francisco, carried 
the wonderful news to all parts of the world. 
Everywhere was blazoned the story that gold 
was found in the streams, on the mountain sides, 
and in the gullies of California. There was a 
mad race for the gold-fields! Adventures from the 
islands of the Pacific, from South America, even 
from China, began to pour in by every arriving 
ship. 

The news reached the Atlantic ports, and society 
was stirred to its very depths. First there was 
wonder and distrust, but the stories kept on com- 
ing, until the East w^ent wild with the fever for 
gold. How to get to California was the one great 
question ! 

It was three thousand miles across the plains, 
and a still longer journey by the Isthmus of Da- 
rien, or by water around Cape Horn. This did 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 335 

not deter or dismay the eager people. Ships were 
fitted out in every port, caravans were made ready 
for the overland journey, and thousands of gold- 
hunters started for the land of wealth. 

In one year, a hundred thousand people moved 
into California, coming from all sections of the 
country, and from nearly all parts of the world. 



CROSSING THE CONTINENT 

The great rush to the gold fields of California 
took place in 1849. The "gold fever," as it was 
called in sport, broke out in many parts of our 
country, and, indeed in many parts of the world, 
and thousands of people started for the West. 
Those who went to California at that time were 
called "Forty-niners." 

The demand for ships was great. Any kind of 
seaworthy craft was fitted out for the voyage. 
Even old whale-boats were used, crowded to their 
limit with passengers. The streets of the seaport 
towns presented an odd appearance, with men 
dressed in red woolen shirts, slouch hats, and cow- 
hide boots, carrying rifles on their shoulders, and 
wearing pistols and knives in their belts. 

Ship after ship sailed on its way around Cape 



336 AIVIERICA FIRST 



Horn, or bore the passengers to the Isthmus of 
Darien. Men of all classes were aboard, — law- 
yers, doctors, scholars, clerks, farmers, business 
men, — for all kinds and conditions of men had 
caught the fever. Love for gold is a magnet that 
levels all distinctions of society. 

The sailing of ships was followed by the march of 
thousands across the plains. Like colonies of ants, 
the long trains of wagons crept along the roads, 
crossing the dreary deserts, climbing the moun- 
tains, dragging their weary but hopeful freight 
of human souls on the long quest. It was a 
dreadful journey, but there were many at that 
time who undertook it. 

Generally, the gold-hunters started out in a 
caravan of a dozen or more big canvass-covered 
wagons, drawn by teams of horses, loaded with 
provisions for the journey, and with tools for 
digging. The women and children rode in the 
wagons, while the men were astride their own 
horses, carrying guns and pistols for protection. 

The caravan usually started from St. Louis 
early in the spring, so as to get good weather and 
grass for the teams. Months would pass, how- 
ever, and winter would be on them before they 
arrived at their destination. Slowly they wended 
their way along, the women talking, the children 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 337 

sleeping or playing, and the men riding ahead. 
It was a long and tiresome trip. 

At night, the caravan would stop at some place 
where there was water. The teams would be un- 
hitched; the horses fed and watered and bedded 
for the night. Camp-fires were then built, and 
supper was cooked and eaten. As soon as it was 
dark, everybody went to sleep in the wagons, 
except those who kept guard. 

By daylight, the caravan was astir, and, after 
breakfast was over, and the sun began to show 
its first rays, the journey was taken up again. 
Another twenty or thirty miles were added to the 
number already traveled. 

Sometimes, a band of murderous Indians would 
sweep down on the caravan, bent on robbing the 
wagons, and even on killing the travelers. Then 
would ensue a long battle between the men and 
the savages. Covered by the wagons, the men 
would shoot at their assailants, and often drive 
them away. Sometimes, however, the Indians 
were so numerous and fierce that nothing was left 
of the caravan except smoking wagons and the 
dead bodies of men, women, and children. 

If the caravan escaped, there were the blinding 
sand storms to be encountered, when the trails 
would be covered, and the travelers would lose 



338 AMERICA FIRST 

their way. In this manner, many perij. 
hunger and thirst. 

Then, there was the danger from wild beasts 
that often stampeded the horses or killed them 
outright. Sometimes water was hard to find, or 
the grass gave out, or the provisions spoiled, or the 
teams died. Long after the gold fever had sub- 
sided, there might be seen along the plains aban- 
doned wagons or the skeletons of dead animals. 

But there were thousands of caravans that made 
the journey safely. After many weary months, 
Salt Lake City was reached — a new and small 
town just founded by the Mormons. Here, the 
weary emigrants tarried a while to rest and to 
recruit fresh animals for the remainder of the 
journey. The Mormons were hospitable, and glad 
of a chance to make a little profit by caring for 
travelers. 

Then to the road again, struggling through the 
parched valleys, where horses almost died of thirst, 
and the women and children cried out in their 
distress! Up the granite sides of the Sierra Moun- 
tains they went, almost dropping from exhaustion, 
till they came to Sacramento Valley, and Mount 
Shasta burst upon their view! 

x\t last they were in the land of their dreams, 
the land of imtold wealth for some, and of bitter 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 339 



sleepinr itment for others ! They found San Fran- 
T«- -^ 3ity of tents and shanties, scattered about 
a few w^nd-swept sand-hills. Everything was rude 
and disorderly, and everybody lived in great con- 
fusion. Rooms cost seven to ten dollars a day. 
Food was scarce and high. There were no men 
at work anywhere, and the few women in town 
w^anted exhorbitant prices for board. 

In this confusion, every man was his own pro- 
tector, and he placed his trust in his own right 
arm and quick fire. So long as he was peaceable 
he was safe, but justice was swift to those who 
broke the law of the camp. 

Thus, the emigrant crossed the land, or sailed 
the waters, to find the gold fields of the New 
World. 



THE PONY EXPRESS 

Wlien gold was discovered in California, thou- 
sands of persons moved to the Pacific Coast. The 
lack of mail facilities for these emigrants was keenly 
felt. At first, it took months for a man in the 
East to exchange letters wuth any one in California. 

In 1854, it was proposed in Congress to estab- 
lish a weekly mail between St. Louis and San 
Francisco. The time required would be ten days, 



340 AMERICA FIRST 



and each trip would cost the Government five 
thousand dollars. Congress thought this was a 
wild scheme, and so nothing was done about it. 

California had to content itself with getting mail 
by way of Panama. If the ships were not delayed, 
a letter would be delivered in about three weeks. 
It took so long to cross the continent that, when 
Utah Territory was created, in 1850, three months 
passed before the news reached Salt Lake City. 

Eight years later, the stage-coaches of the South- 
ern Overland Mail covered the distance of twenty- 
seven hundred and fifty -nine miles, between St. 
Louis and San Francisco, in three weeks. The 
fare was one hundred dollars. The outfit con- 
sisted of one hundred stage-coaches, one thousand 
horses, five hundred mules, and seven hundred and 
fifty men, of whom one hundred and fifty were 
drivers. Letters were carried for ten cents a 
half-ounce. 

It was a long, tiresome, and sometimes exciting 
journey. The mail was put in big bags, securely 
strapped on top, or in the back of the stage. The 
passengers were inside, while the intrepid driver 
forced his plucky horses from station to station, 
along the rough roads. Often the traveler had to 
hold on for dear Hfe, while the coach went over 
ditches or down the steep inchne of the moun- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 341 

tains, rocking from side to side, and threatening 
to pitch over or sHde down a precipice at any 
moment. 

Sometimes it rained; it was very cold in win- 
ter and hot and dusty in summer; and the war- 
whoop of the Indians suggested the possibihty of 
an attack on the coach. Then again, the bold 
appearance of a band of highwaymen resulted in 
a hold-up, while the mail-bags were robbed, and 
the passengers were searched for their money and 
jewelry. An attack on the mail-coach was by no 
means an unusual occurrence. 

Horses were changed at regular stations. The 
passengers alighted, ate their meals, visited awhile, 
or stretched their cramped limbs while the new 
teams were being hitched. Then up and in place, 
— the crack of the whip, a whoop from the driver, 
and the 'coach disappeared down the road! Three 
weeks of this was anything but a pleasant journey. 

In 18G0, a system of carrying mails and small 
parcels by the use of ponies was established. It 
was called the *'Pony Express." The schedule 
was fourteen days in all, by rail from New York 
to St. Joseph, and thence by running ponies to 
Sacramento. The little animals made wonderful 
distance, and were very accurate in their schedule, 
always arriving on time. 



342 AMERICA FIRST 



The ponies employed were selected with care for 
their speed and endurance. They were housed, 
and fed, and rubbed down with every possible 
attention. Ten miles, at the full limit of his 
speed, was demanded of each little animal, if the 
road was bad, and more, if the road was good. 

Across the prairies, where the land was level, 
and the traveling good, pony and rider flew like 
the wind, scarcely noticing the sweet grass or the 
wild flowers by the way. Up the mountain sides, 
across streams, through the forests, around sharp 
turns, went the Pony Express at top speed. In 
summer heat and winter cold, in rain and snow 
and dust and drought, the rider and his pony 
made schedule time. At the end of the run, 
flecked with foam, panting with exertion, and 
covered with dust or mud, but still full of fire and 
strength, the pony would be rewarded by a rub 
down. 

The rider dismounted, stretched his legs a little; 
then he remounted another waiting pony, received 
his precious bundles, and was off like a flash down 
the trail on another lap of the journey. Thus, one 
rider made several changes, and the pony he left 
behind, after its rest, was prepared for another 
rider taking him back to his first station. 

Nearlv two thousand miles had to be covered in 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 343 

eight days. There was no idhng for either pony 
or rider. Once under the saddle, the Httle animal 
leaped to his course like a fire horse to his harness. 
The rider was trained to the saddle, and could 
ride better than he could walk. 

The packet of letters made a bundle not much 
larger than an ordinary writing-tablet, but every 
letter had been paid for, five dollars in advance. 
There were hundreds of them, written on the 
thinnest paper that could be found. 

Twenty pounds was the limit of the weight of 
the mail-bag. In all, six hundred and fifty thou- 
sand miles were covered by the riders of the com- 
pany, and only one small package was lost. Each 
rider was provided with pistols to protect himself 
from attack, and had to be a courageous, skillful 
and trustworthy man. 

But the Pony Express never paid expenses. It 
was operated for sixteen months, and lost money 
all the while. At the end of that time, it was 
abandoned. When the telegraph was completed 
across the plains, the rate of postage fell to one 
dollar a letter, and the pony and his rider went 
out of business. 

However, the Pony Express opened the way for 
the cross-continent telegraph and railway, and was 
evidence of how enterprising the early emigrants 



344 AMERICA FIRST 



were while they were setthng and developing the 
wonderful country beyond the Rocky Mountains. 



THE BOY WHO SAVED A VILLAGE 

In western pioneer days, out on the Pacific 
Coast, the adventurous life of the settlers was be- 
set with many dangers. About the time the "gold 
fever" struck the people of the United States, a 
family named Goodman, started from one of the 
eastern states to find a home in the Northwest, 
somewhere along the coast. The region w^ in- 
habited only by a few Indians and hunters, en- 
gaged in trapping wild animals for their fur. 

After weary months of travel overland, in slow 
carts drawTi by oxen, suffering from hunger, thirst 
and sickness, and harassed by Indians, — the 
family at last reached a place on Puget Sound, 
and built themselves a home. There were two 
children, — a little girl, and a boy who, even 
though only nine years old, was quite useful in 
helping his father build the log cabin, and plant 
the garden. 

As the boy grew larger, he went with his father 
hunting wild game, and fishing. So that, by the 
time he was twelve years of age, he could use his 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 345 

rifle with deadly aim, and could paddle a boat as 
well as any Indian along the coast. 

After a while, other settlers came and, for pro- 
tection, moved in the neighborhood; thus, after a 
time, quite a colony grew up. The Indians looked 
on with distrust and alarm. The whites were com- 
ing in such numbers that the red men feared they 
would be driven away, and lose their hunting- and 
jBshing-grounds. The savages held a big meeting 
of all the tribes, and there was much pow-wow, 
before they agreed to make war on the little town, 
and kill all the white people in it. 

The settlers heard nothing of the intention of 
the Indians, and went on with their planting and 
building and fishing, not knowing of the deadly 
danger that hung over them. They had been kind 
to the Indians, had furnished them with guns and 
powder, and had given them presents; they had 
every reason to believe that the tribes were 
friendly. 

One day, however, word came that a body of 
Indians had appeared at a remote farm-house, and, 
after burning everything, had slain all the inhabi- 
tants. The next day, news arrived that other 
white men had been killed in the woods, and that 
the Indians had put on their w^ar-paint. This so 
alarmed the settlers that they prepared for defense. 



346 AMERICA FIRST 



A friendly squaw brought word to Mr. Good- 
man that the Indians were on the way to destroy 
his house. It was a few miles from the village 
itself, so he hastily sent his wife and the girls to 
the hamlet, while he and his son stayed behind to 
discover the purpose of the savages. That very 
night the barking of the dogs gave warning that 
the Indians were near. Looking out, the father 
saw dusky, painted forms, and was greeted with 
a shower of arrows. 

Closing the door, he and his son escaped through 
the back, leaped into a canoe, and were soon be- 
yond the reach of their foes, though arrows feU 
thick about them as they paddled away. It was 
not long before they came to the sleeping hamlet 
a few miles up the coast. 

"The Indians are coming. Awake and arm 
yourselves," they cried, as they landed. 

Then commenced a great hurrying of men and 
women. All night long they built a big clay fort, 
brought water and food, loaded guns, and made 
ready for the attack which they knew was not far 
off. 

About noon, the next day, a fleet of war canoes 
was seen approaching. They came within gun- 
shot of the village fort, and opened fire. The 
settlers replied with deadly aim. The Indians were 



STORIES OF OUR OWN mSTORY 347 

in open boats, and the settlers behind clay walls, 
so that many a savage fell into the water with a 
bullet wound, while only a few of the settlers were 
hurt. Late in the afternoon, the Indians decided 
they had had enough for one day, and withdrew 
for the night. 

They intended to renew the attack the next day, 
so they drew off about a half-mile, to a neck of 
land, beached their canoes, and built fires for 
cooking and dancing. They had a great feast of 
meat and corn, and then began to beat their drums, 
utter wild cries, and dance their war-dances. 

Now, let us return to the hero of our story, 
young Goodman. All day long he had been firing 
his gun with unerring aim, causing many a savage 
to fall from his canoe. When night came, and 
the Indians retired, the boy cautiously left the 
fort, and crept through the bushes to see what 
they were doing. No one missed him, for he told 
no one where he was going. Slowdy and carefully, 
he crept nearer and nearer, until he was quite close 
to the dancing and howling crowd. Then, he 
formed a bold plan of stealing all the canoes of 
the savages, so that they could not go back to 
the village. Besides which, the canoes held the 
guns and powder and much of the provisions 
owned by tlie savages. 



348 AMERICA FIRST 



He waited till nearly midnight, then undressed, 
and, tying his clothes around his neck, he waded 
into the water and swam until he rounded a point 
which brought him near the canoes and close to 
the Indian camp. 

He was very quick, and swam as silently as a 
fish. Slowly, he crawled up to one of the canoes, 
and cut the thongs that held it to its moorings. 
He was glad to see it swing loose, and drift away 
from shore. Then he began to cut them all loose, 
one after the other, and push them from shore. 
He worked silently; for, if the Indians heard him, 
it would mean certain death. 

After he had cut away about a dozen canoes, 
an Indian came toward the shore, but the night 
was dark, and the savage was tired and sleepy; so 
Goodman hid himself behind one of the boats and 
waited. The Indian took some food out of the 
canoe nearest him, and went back to his howling 
companions. 

In about three hours, all the boats were cut 
loose and adrift. Some were far out, and all were 
being carried away by the tide. Goodman jumped 
into the last canoe, seized the paddles, and rowed 
away, uttering a loud yell of triumph — for now 
he was out of danger. 

The Indians rushed to the shore, but it was 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 349 

too late. Day was breaking, and they could see 
their canoes adrift, and they reahzed that they 
were helpless. They howled in anger, and fired 
off their guns, and some of them even started to 
swim for their canoes. But Goodman was too sure 
a shot to miss a single swimmer; he lay flat in 
his canoe and fired at them one by one. 

Howling with rage, they gave up the pursuit, 
and, by sunrise, were on their way home overland. 
When Goodman reached his own fort, the old men 
patted him on the back, while the women, with 
tears in their eyes, hugged and kissed him. To 
this day, they tell the story of how Goodman 
saved the village. 



THE RESCUE OF JERRY 

Not all the slaveholders in the South were kind 
masters, nor were all the slaves treated properly; 
sometimes they ran away to places in the North. 
Then the law allowed them to be captured, and 
returned to their masters. 

Jerry McHenry was an athletic mulatto, who 
had lived for a number of years in Syracuse, New 
York, working quietly and expertly as a cooper. 
No one inquired where he came from, or how he 



3.50 AINIERICA FIRST 



had reached the town, or who he was. The people 
were content to let Jerry alone, and not ask too 
many questions. If he was an escaped slave, it 
was the duty of the officers of the law to return 
him to his master. And no one wanted to do that. 

One day, an agent came to Syracuse, and ob- 
tained a warrant for the arrest of Jerry, declaring 
he w^as a former slave, owned by a Mr. Reynolds, 
of Missouri; and that, under the Fugitive Slave 
Law, he must be arrested and sent back to his 
master. 

Going to his place of business, the agent, accom- 
panied by an officer, said, "Jerry, you are an 
escaped slave, and belong to Mr. Reynolds. You 
must come with us and stand trial." 

Jerry w^s struck dumb with astonishment and 
dismay. He thought his hiding-place was still a 
secret. He said little, but, with despair in his 
heart, he laid aside his tools, and went with the 
agent to appear before the Judge. 

The testimony was one-sided. The agent thus 
stated the case: "This man, Jerry McHenry, is 
by birtli a slave. He belongs to Mr. Reynolds, of 
Missouri. He escaped from his master, and has 
been hiding m the North. The law requires him 
to be returned to his owner." 

Jerry said nothing in his defense, and was not 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 351 

asked any questions. He sat looking on, and not 
very closely guarded, though his hands were 
manacled with hand-cuffs. The Judge and the 
agent were arranging some papers, and were talk- 
ing about the case. A young man, standing near 
the prisoner, leaned over, and whispered, "Now, 
Jerry, here is a good chance for you to slip out of 
the court-room." 

In a moment Jerry had risen from his seat, 
slipped through the bystanders, run down the 
steps, and was in the street below. The crowd 
cheered him, and made way for him. There was 
no vehicle for him to escape in, but Jerry was a 
swift runner, and disappeared up the street. 

The police officers raised a great cry, and started 
in hot pursuit. Jerry had turned a corner, and 
was fleeing as fast as his manacled condition would 
let him. He had run about a mile, and was quite 
out of breath before his pursuers came near to 
him. 

"Stop, and surrender, or it will be the worse 
for you," they cried. 

"Never!" answered the fugitive, and made one 
last despairing effort before they closed in on him. 

Jerry fought like a tiger, against overwhelming 
odds. He was surrounded by the police and their 
followers, and struck from before and behind. He 



352 AMERICA FIRST 



was thrown down, and bruised, his clothes being 
sadly torn. 

In this condition, he was put in a wagon, four 
policemen guarding him. He was brought back to 
the city, and confined in the back room of the 
station, under a heavy guard. The crowd of citi- 
zens outside watched the proceedings with ill- 
concealed anger. 

They proposed to rush in, and rescue the poor 
man. But one of their number advised them in 
this fashion: 

"Wait a little while, and it will be quite dark. 
Proper arrangements can then be made for the 
poor fellow to be disposed of, after we rescue him. 
Stay nearby until all is made ready." 

In the meantime, Jerry was in a perfect rage of 
passion. He beat his iron-bound hands on the 
table before him, and cried out in his fury, "Take 
these irons off my hands, and give me a chance. 
I will fight my way through all the guard, and 
escape; if I do not, you can send me where you 
will." 

One of his friends came in to quiet him, and 
told him, in a low voice, that a crowd was getting 
ready to rescue him when it was dark. He then 
sat down, with his head on the table, and said 
nothing else. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 353 

About thirty picked men met outside, and 
planned how to effect the escape of the prisoner. 
They did not sympathize with the Fugitive Slave 
Law, and were anxious to give Jerry a chance to 
get away. All arrangements were carefully made. 
At a given signal, the doors and windows were 
smashed in, and the rescuers rushed into the room. 
The officers were seized and held. There was 
little opposition, for the crowd was so determined 
that any show of force would have been useless. 

Several men seized Jerry in their arms, and 
bore him outside to a waiting buggy, to which a 
swift horse was hitched and where a willing driver 
sat ready. 

"Now, go for your life," was the order, and 
the horse started at a rapid pace. The driver 
managed to escape all followers, and, after about 
an hour's journey, he delivered Jerry into the 
hands of a kind woman, who gave him shelter for 
the night. His pursuers were off the track, and 
Jerry was safe for a while. 

After a day or two, a covered wagon, with a 
pair of fleet horses, w^as seen standing in front of 
the house where Jerry had found lodging. An old 
and infirm man was noticed coming out of the 
house and getting into the vehicle, which started 
off at a rapid rate. 



354 AMERICA FIRST 



Several persons saw the unusual sight, and told 
the police that they were suspicious of the old 
man, and thought he might be Jerry. The police 
at once started in chase. The pursuit lasted for 
a short while, but they were not very eager to 
capture their former prisoner, and did not go very far. 
After ten miles, they gave up and returned to town. 

The supposed old man was in reality Jerry, who 
was making his way into Canada. There, no per- 
son could be held as a slave, and, once there, all 
fugitives were safe. In fact, there were many 
provisions made for helping escaped slaves get over 
the border into Canada. 

After several days, Jerry and his rescuers came 
to one of the Great Lakes, where a friendly Cap- 
tain took him on board a boat. At dark, the 
boat sailed across the Lake, and Jerry was landed 
in Canada, where he soon established himself 
again in business as a cooper. 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN 

Lincoln was born in a cabin, in a dreary region 
of the state of Kentucky. It was a one-room 
house, about fourteen feet square, built of logs. 
In this one room the family cooked, ate, and 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 355 

slept. Very few children have started life in so 
poor and barren a home as did Abraham Lincoln. 

When he was seven years old, his parents moved 
to Indiana, into a wild and wooded region, and 
there built a rude place to live in. It was still 
a cabin, with the roughest of furniture. A log, 
smoothed on one side, was used as a table. The 
bedsteads were made of poles, fastened to the 
walls. The chairs were blocks of wood. All 
the cooking was done in the fireplace. 

Here, Lincoln spent his childliood in toil and 
hardship. The family was poor, and every mem- 
ber had to do- hard work on the farm. After 
laboring all day, the young boy would often lie 
down before the fireplace, and read by the light 
of the burning fire. Then, when too tired to read 
any more, he would climb a ladder, made of pegs 
driven into the wall, and go to sleep in the loft 
on a pallet of straw, covered with skins. 

He had but little chance to get an education. 
He did not go to school more than a year, all 
told, and had very poor teachers. But he learned 
to read such books as "^Esop's Fables," "The 
Pilgrim's Progress," and the Bible. 

He borrowed the "Life of Washington" from a 
neighbor, and sat up far into the night reading it. 
He kept it in a crevice in the wall, near his bed, 



356 AMERICA FIRST 



for safety. One night it rained, and he found the 
book 'soaked through and through. The owner 
made him work three days to pay for it, and then let 
him have it. It was the first book the boy ow^ned. 

He was accustomed to hear every preacher and 
stump orator that came into his neighborhood. 
Once, he walked fourteen miles to hear a trial in 
Court. When one of the lawyers finished his 
speech, Lincoln walked across the room in his 
bare feet, with his trousers rolled up, and said 
quite audibly, "I want to shake your hand. That 
is the best speech I ever heard." Years after, 
when Lincoln was President, the lawyer, grown 
old and feeble, came to the White House and re- 
minded him of the incident. 

When Lincoln was about twenty-one years of 
age, his father and two of his neighbors moved to 
Illinois. Through mud and water, and over rough 
roads, Lincoln walked all the way, driving an ox- 
team. They settled about ten miles from Decatur, 
and started life afresh. 

Lincoln aided in clearing the land, and he fenced 
it with rails. He helped build the cabins and plant 
the spring crops. Though he was of age, and 
could have done as he pleased, he stayed with 
the family until they had started in their new 
surroundings. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 357 

He needed some clothes, for he still wore the 
buckskins of the frontier. He bargained with a 
neighbor to make him a pair of trousers out of 
brown jeans, dyed with white walnut bark, agree- 
ing to split rails in payment. He had to split 
fourteen hundred rails before the trousers were 
paid for. 

Lincoln was now a grown man, six feet and four 
inches tall, spare of frame, but muscular, and in 
perfect health. He was much beloved by the 
community in which he lived, and was popular 
with his companions. He could out-run, out- 
jump, and out-wrestle anybody in the neighbor- 
hood. And, as a rail-splitter, nobody could approach 
him in the number he could split a day. 

For he had precision and power with a sharp 
ax. Every blow fell in the right place, and with 
great force. To see him cut down a large tree, 
and split it into rails, was to witness an exhibition 
of rare skill. 

He was also a good story-teller. All his life 
he had an inexhaustible supply of funny stories 
to fit any occasion. He gained a reputation for 
honesty and square dealing in all his business 
transactions. That is why he was called "Honest 
Abe." 

One day, a woman came into the store where 



33S AMERICA FIRST 



Lincoln was engaged as clerk. After she had gone, 
he noticed that she had given him six cents too 
much. That night, after his job was finished, he 
walked five miles to the woman's house to return 
her the money. 

By dint of hard study and hard work, Lincoln 
began to be a leader in the town of New Salem, 
where he was employed. He studied law, was 
admitted to the bar, and was elected to the Legis- 
lature. He was sent to Congress, and was a can- 
didate for the United States Senate. 

As a lawyer, he was very shrewd and successful. 
Upon one occasion he defended the son of a poor 
woman, who was accused of murdering a man at 
night. Lincoln was satisfied in his own mind that 
the boy was innocent. The trial began, and the 
witnesses were called. 

The chief witness said, "I saw him strike the 
man and kill him." 

Lincoln inquired, "What time was it when you 
saw him?" 

"It was about eleven o'clock," the witness 
replied. 

"How could you see so well at night.'*" asked 
the lawyer. 

The man rephed, "The moon was shining, and I 
could easily see by its light." 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 359 

Lincoln sent for an almanac, and showed the 
jury that there was no moon shining on that night, 
whereupon the witness retired in confusion, and the 
man was acquitted of the crime. 

In after years, Lincoln was President of the 
United States, during the trying period of the 
Civil War. His was a deep responsibility, and he 
felt the burden of saving the Union very keenly. 

He was a man of strong convictions and of great 
firmness. He was cast by nature in a heroic mold, 
yet he was always sympathetic and tender in his 
dealings with men. His disposition was melan- 
choly, in spite of his humor, and he brooded deeply 
over the welfare of the country. His great hope 
was to save the Union at any cost, and it grieved 
him profoundly to see the Southern States secede. 



ROBERT E. LEE 

Robert E. Lee was the son of General Henry 
Lee, a hero of the Revolution, known as "Light 
Horse Harry." He was born in Virginia. He was 
no more than a mere boy, when his father died, 
leaving him to the training of a devoted mother. 
When Robert was not at school, he spent his time 
with her, helping her to keep house, taking her 



3G0 AlVIERICA FIRST 



out to ride in the old family coach, and reading 
aloud the books she liked to hear. 

Some days, however, he spent in hunting, of 
which he was very fond. Then he would ride all 
day with his hounds, or tramp for hours through 
the woods looking for game. In this way, he 
developed the splendid strength that never failed 
him in his after life. 

Wlien he was eighteen years old, he w^ent to 
West Point to be trained as a soldier. He w^as 
there for four years, and never received a demerit. 
He was a model cadet. His clothes were always 
clean and well cared for. His gun, belt, and sword 
were as bright as they could be polished. His 
lessons were studiously prepared. So good a rec- 
ord did he make that he graduated second in his 
class. 

Like many great men, Lee was always gentle, 
generous, and good. He was simple in his habits, 
never using tobacco nor any intoxicating liquors. 
Upon one occasion, a lady gave him a bottle of 
whisky to use, if he *'ever needed it.'* Lee took 
it with him through the Mexican War, and then 
sent it back to his friend, saying, "I have gotten 
along very well without it, and am returning it to 
you, for I have never found that I really needed 
it." 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 361 

Lee served as u Captain of Engineers during the 
War with Mexico. It was his duty to make roads 
and bridges, to plant big guns, to draw maps, and 
to direct the marches of the fighting men. He 
was with General Scott in all the big battles, and 
was of such assistance that that General said, 
"Lee is the greatest soldier I have ever known.*' 

In after years, General Scott said, "If I knew 
that a battle was to be fought for my country, 
and the president were to say to me, 'Scott, who 
shall be my commander.^' I would say 'Robert E. 
Lee! Nobody but Robert E. Lee.'" 

In Mexico, while the battle of Cerro Gordo was 
raging, Captain Lee heard the cries of a little girl, 
and, following the sound, found a Mexican drum- 
mer-boy badly wounded, and lying on the ground 
with a big Mexican soldier, who had been shot, 
fallen on top of him. Lee stopped, had the Mexi- 
can thrown off the boy's body, and the little fellow 
taken to a place of safety. 

His small sister stood by, her eyes full of tears, 
her hands crossed over her breast. Her feet and 
arms were bare, and her hair hung down in a long 
plait to her waist. She looked up into the kind 
face of Captain Lee, and said, in her own language, 
"I am very grateful, kind sir. May God bless you 
for saving my brother." 



36^2 AMERICA FIRST 



Once, on a long march, a part of Scott's army 
had lost its way. General Scott sent seven en- 
gineers to guide the men into the right road. 
They had to cross a huge bed of lava and rocks. 
Six of the engineers came back, and said they 
could not get across. Captain Lee, however, on 
foot, and alone, pressed on through darkness and 
danger, and brought the men out in safety. 
General Scott said, "It was the greatest feat 
done by any one man during the war." 

When the Civil War came on, Lee resigned from 
the United States Army to fight for Virginia and 
the South. He was offered the chief command of 
the Union forces, if he would remain in the serv- 
ice of the United States. He said to Mr. Blair, 
,who came to offer him this command, 

"If I owned the four millions of slaves in the 
South, I would give them all up to save the 
Union, but how can I draw my sword upon Vir- 
ginia, my native State?" 

After the war had been going on for nearly a 
year, Lee became the commanding General of all 
the Confederate Army. His soldiers were de- 
votedly attached to him, and had supreme con- 
fidence in his ability. They referred to him 
affectionately as "Marse Robert." 

On one occasion, General Lee placed himself at 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 363 

the head of a body of Texas troops, and, waving 
his sword, ordered them to follow him into battle. 
The situation was critical, and Lee wanted to save 
the day. 

But the soldiers would not move. They cried 
out, "Lee to the rear! Lee to the rear." One of 
his Generals rode up and, taking his horse by the 
bridle, said, "General Lee, there are Georgians and 
Texans here willing to charge, but unwilling to see you 
in danger. If you will go back, we will go forward." 

To this Lee replied, "You are brave men, and 
do not need me"; and, turning his horse's head, 
he rode back of the charging lines. 

An old soldier relates that one day he was in 
the trenches, when a big gun was ready to be 
fired. Lee came in, and walked about, asking 
after the men and speaking words of cheer. Ap- 
proaching the big gun, he asked an officer to fire 
it that he might see the result. The officer hesi- 
tated, and said, 

"If I fire this gun, the enemy will return the 
fire at once in great force. Some of us will be 
killed, but that does not matter so long as you 
are not here. You might get hurt. If you will 
retire out of danger, I shall fire it as long as you 
order, but I beg you not to have it fired while 
you are here." 



364 AINIERICA FIRST 



Lee was greatly touched by this devotion, and 
did not insist upon the big gun going into action 
while he was present. 

General Lee ever felt kindly toward Union sol- 
diers. He never called them "the enemy," but 
always spoke of them as "those people." Once, 
he remarked about the Northern troops, "Now, I 
wish all those people would go home and leave us 
to do the same." 

A lady, who had lost her husband in the war, 
spoke in sharp terms of the North, one day, to 
General Lee. He said gently, "Madam, do not 
train up your children as foes of the Government 
of the United States. We are one country now. 
Bring them up to be Americans." 

Throughout his life, he had but one purpose, 
and that was to do his duty. He often said, 
"Duty is the sublimest word in the English lan- 
guage," and, in accordance with this belief, he 
regulated his great life upon what seemed to him 
to be the only course he ought to pursue at the 
time. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 365 



STONEWALL JACKSON 

His real name was Thomas Jonathan Jackson, 
and he was born in what is now West Virginia, of 
poor parents who had to work hard for a Hving. 
His father died when he was three years old, leav- 
ing his mother to support three little children. 
They all lived in one room, where the mother 
taught a little school, and did sewing for her 
friends and neighbors. 

Thomas grew up rosy-cheeked and blue-eyed, 
with waving brown hair, very determined to have 
his way, and full of confidence in himself. Fortu- 
nately, his way was a good one, and, from the 
start, he was a very dependable boy. 

He was fond of arithmetic, and easily learned all 
the hard rules and could work any of the problems 
given him. His other studies were not so easy, 
but he never stopped anything he had once started, 
until he had mastered it, or it had mastered him. 
One of the maxims of his life was, "You may be 
whatever you resolve to be." 

He gained a reputation for telling the exact 
truth. At one time, he walked a mile in the rain 
to correct a statement he had made. 



366 AMERICA FIRST 



"Why do you go to so much trouble for such a 
mere trifle as that?" some one asked him on his 
return. 

He answered, "Simply because I found out that 
what I said was not true, and I never carry any- 
thing to bed with me that will rob me of sleep." 

He was a leader in sports, particularly in climb- 
ing and jumping. He was generally selected as 
Captain of one side, and this was the side that 
nearly always won, for he was a master of strategy 
in games. 

At eighteen, he resolved to be a soldier. Dressed 
in a plain homespun suit and carrying his clothes 
in a saddle-bag, he rode into Washington, and 
asked to be made a cadet at West Point, the 
military academy of the nation. He received 
the appointment. 

His appearance caused much sport among the 
students there, for he was awkward and ill at 
ease, but always good-natured. It was not long 
before his ability to master his studies, however, 
made him sought after by others, and he soon won 
admiration and respect. 

From early life, he was very religious. He 
taught in the Sunday-school, and even gathered 
the slaves of his town together every Sunday 
afternoon, and made them familiar with the truths 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 367 

of the Bible. Later on, when he had become a 
great soldier, it was his habit to go off to a quiet 
place, and pray before a battle. 

Jackson's servant used to say, "I can tell when 
there is going to be a big fight, for Marse Tom 
always prays a long time before one." 

When the Civil War began, Jackson threw his 
lot in with Virginia, and enlisted in the Con- 
federate Army. He was commissioned a General. 
The first great battle of this war was known as 
Bull Run, or the Battle of Manassas. The Con- 
federate troops were driven back, but were rallied 
on a half -plateau by General Jackson. 

Here they stood immovable, for Jackson refused 
to retreat a step. An officer rushed up and said, 
"General, they are beating us back, and we are 
without ammunition." 

"Then, sir," replied Jackson, "we will give 
them the bayonet." 

A few minutes later, seeing the troops around 
Jackson, standing their ground so firmly. General 
Bee, a Confederate officer, cried out to his own 
men: 

"Look at Jackson's brigade! It stands like a 
stone wall," 

After this incident, the great soldier was known 
in history as "Stonewall" Jackson. 



368 AMERICA FIRST 



Like many other soldiers Jackson never used 
coffee, tobacco, or whisky. Nor could he bear to 
hear any one utter profane language. He never re- 
frained from expressing his disapproval of swearing. 

Often, in winter, he would go without an over- 
coat, saying, *'I do not wish to give in to the 
cold." Once, when told by his surgeon that he 
needed a little brandy, he replied, "I like it too 
well; that is the reason I never take it. I am 
more afraid of it than of Federal bullets." 

Jackson always shared the hardships of his men. 
On one occasion, when his brigade was worn out 
with marching, he said, "Let the poor fellows 
sleep. I will guard the camp myseh." Accord- 
ingly, he acted as sentinel during the night, while 
his tired men took their rest. 

Jackson became the ablest Lieutenant of General 
Lee, who relied upon him implicitly. He was 
often sent upon most important and most danger- 
ous missions, but his skill was so great that he 
always returned victorious. So rapid were the 
movements of his troops, that they became known 
as " Jackson's foot cavalry." 

At the battle of Chancellorsville, Lee sent Jack- 
son around to the rear of Hooker's army. Jackson 
fell so suddenly upon the flank of the Federals 
that they were thrown into confusion. The result 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 369 

of the attack was to defeat Hooker's plan, and to 
check his advance. 

The victory was dearly bought. Jackson had 
ridden out in the gathering darkness to reconnoitre 
the positions of the enemy, and was returning to 
camp. He ran into a body of his own troops, 
who, mistaking his party for Federal cavalry, fired 
upon them. Jackson fell from his horse mortally 
wounded. 

He was borne on a stretcher to a farmhouse 
near by, where he died after a few days. His 
final thoughts were of the battle, and he muttered 
orders to his men as his life ebbed away. 

His last words were, ''Let us cross over the 
river, and rest under the shade of the trees." 

His death was a great loss to the Confederate 
cause. Lee wept when he heard the sad news, 
and said, "I have indeed lost my right arm." 

STEALING A LOCOMOTIVE 

One day, in April, 1862, a passenger train was 
on its way from Marietta, Georgia, bound North. 
At Marietta, about twenty men, in civilian clothes, 
had boarded the train, nobody paying any special 
attention to them. Yet these men were bent upon 
a desperate adventure. 



370 AMERICA FIRST 



Eight miles beyond Marietta the train stopped 
ten minutes for breakfast at the station, called 
Big Shanty. Everybody was hungry, and soon the 
passengers, the conductor, the engineer, and the 
fireman were in the breakfast room. The men 
who had boarded the train at Marietta quietly 
stole toward the locomotive, instead of following 
the others. No one paid any heed to their move- 
ments, in spite of the fact that a sentinel was 
walking his beat hardly a dozen steps away. 

One of the men climbed into the cab of the 
locomotive, another slipped in between two cars 
and pulled out the coupling pin, while the others 
climbed into an empty box-car. Finally, the man 
in the cab laid his hand upon the throttle. The 
engine moved off with three box cars, leaving the 
passenger coaches standing on the tracks. 

The sentinel, in alarm, fired off his gun, and the 
passengers ran out just in time to see the loco- 
motive and cars disappearing in the distance. The 
engine had been stolen, and the men were on their 
way to the Federal lines. The conductor was so 
frightened by this disaster that he started on a 
run up the track, in frantic but useless haste to 
overtake the fugitives. The amazed passengers 
stood helplessly on the platform, quite powerless 
to do anything. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY a?! 

The men who had stolen the locomotive were a 
party of Northern scouts, who had made their 
way in disguise into the Southern lines, with the 
mtention of stealing a train, burning the bridges 
behind them, and make useless the only railroad 
by which troops could be sent to Chattanooga to 
oppose the Union forces. Their enterprise had 
succeeded thus far, and they were rapidly making 
their w^ay North. 

Their only peril seemed to be the telegraph 
wires, by which information could be sent on 
ahead, and their flight arrested. Therefore, they 
stopped a few miles out of town while one of the 
men climbed a pole and cut the wires. Then they 
started again on their way. Occasionally, they 
had to stop for wood or water. The leader of the 
party, named Andrews, answered all questions by 
saying, "We are taking a train -load of powder to 
General Beauregard," and pointed to the box-cars 
as evidence of his statement. 

At Kingston, thirty miles from Big Shanty, the 
party drew mto a siding to let a local train go by. 
Andre w^s expected to move away after this, but, 
to his dismay, the train carried a red flag, showing 
that another traiu was just behind. 

"How does it happen that this road is blocked 
when I have orders to hasten with this powder to 



372 A:\IERirA FIRST 



General Beauregard?" he asked sharply of the 
conductor. 

The conductor replied, "We have orders to move 
everythmg out of Chattanooga, and there are a 
number of trains on this track. You will have to 
wait, or run into a collision if you go on." This 
was bad news for the fugitives, for they had to 
wait an hour while train after train passed, carry- 
mg the red flag. At last, one went by without 
that signal, and Andrews and his men gladly 
leaped on board their own train and started wildly 
up the track, hoping to escape before they were 
suspected or pursued. 

Yet they must guard against pursuit. Stopping 
their train, they sprang out to tear up the rails 
of the track in order to check any such danger. 
Hardly had they gotten out their tools before they 
heard, far down the track, the ominous whistle of 
a locomotive, evidently coming under full speed. 
Abandoning their intention, they sprang aboard in 
alarm and haste, and started ahead under full 
steam. 

The race was on, for the conductor and engineer 
of the stolen train had secured another locomotive 
and cab, and, filling it with soldiers, had started 
in hot pursuit of the daring scouts. Andrews and 
his men well knew their fate if they were caught. 



—ri 




The 



race was on. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 373 

They were not only robbers, but they were also 
spies, and capture meant death. 

On went the fugitives at full speed; on came 
their pursuers hardly a mile behind! The loco- 
motives were well matched, and thundered over 
the rails at a perilous rate. If the scouts could 
only stop long enough to tear up a rail, or even 
to pile up an obstruction of ties, all might be safe, 
but the pursuit was too hot, and there was no 
safety except in flight! 

Andrews now uncoupled the rear box-car, hop- 
ing thus to wreck his pursuers by a collision. The 
Confederates saw the danger in time to slow down, 
pick up the car, and push it on ahead of their 
engine. Andrews tried the same trick a second 
time, but again the Confederates caught the box- 
car, and went on pushing two cars. On reaching a 
siding, at Resaca, the Confederate engineer pushed 
the two cars into a switch and left them there, 
while he started again in pursuit. 

Not far beyond was a bridge, which Andrews 
hoped to destroy. Setting fire to the third box- 
car by means of oil, he stopped it mid-way on the 
bridge, and left it there in full blaze. The bridge 
was covered, but fortunately the roof was wet 
because of recent rains. Dense smoke poured from 
each end of the blazing car, but the Confederate 



374 a:merica first 



engineer was not dismayed. Right into the smoke 
he ran, caught the box-car on his pilot, and pushed 
it off the bridge. In a few minutes, the flames 
were extinguished, and all danger was over. 

The fugitives were now in a sad plight. Their 
wood and water were exhausted, and their steam 
was getting low. Their engine w^as slowing down, 
and escape was impossible. The men sprang from 
the engine, and rushed into the woods, scattering 
in every direction. 

Soon, the Confederate engine arrived, and a hot 
pursuit of the fugitives began. The alarm spread 
rapidly, and the whole country was aroused. In 
a few hours several of the men were captured. 
The rest hid in the woods and swamps, and lived 
the best they could on roots and berries. But 
by the end of the week, all had been found, and 
put into prison. The leaders were executed "as 
spies and robbers." 

SAM DAVIS 

In times of war it is necessary to have scouts, 
whose duty it is to go into the enemy's lines, and 
far into the enemy's country, in order to get 
valuable information, and bring it back to their 
commanders. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 375 

These scouts are called "spies" by the enemy, 
and if they are caught they are put to death, by 
the rules of warfare. They frequently disguise 
themselves by wearing the enemy's uniform, or the 
clothes of a civilian. Sometimes they dress and 
act as if they were quite different persons from 
what they really are. A young scout may play 
the part of an innocent old farmer, even of a 
woman; or take any character that will suit his 
purpose. 

It is a life full of danger and adventure. A 
scout must be very brave and quick-witted. He 
has no one to depend upon but himself, and his 
wits are often called upon to do their best to get 
him out of trouble. He is sometimes absent for 
days and even weeks, and no one hears a word 
from him, until he returns with the information 
wanted. 

He brings word of the size of the enemy's army, 
of their equipment, and of the strength of their 
positions. He often learns the plans of their pro- 
posed battles, and the next movement of their 
troops. In this way, his commander will know 
exactly when to attack his enemy, and how best 
to defend himself. 

Sam Davis was a young Southern soldier, de- 
tailed as a scout. He was only seventeen years 



376 AMERICA FIRST 



old, but he was a fine rider, and knew all the 
country into which he was expected to go. General 
Bragg, of the Southern Army, desired to know the 
strength of the Federal forts in Middle Tennessee, 
and he selected Sam Davis to bring him the 
information. 

When Davis came before him, General Bragg 
said, "Davis, I wish you to get this information 
for me. It is a dangerous task, my boy, but you 
know the country and you are the best one to go. 
Be very careful, for if you are caught, you will be 
shot as a spy. You need not go if you do not 
wish to." 

Davis stood erect, saluted the General, and said, 
"I am not afraid. I know the country, and am 
ready to go. I also know the dangers, and what 
will happen to me if I am caught. What are your 
instructions, sir.'^" 

He rode off early one morning, dressed in a dis- 
guise. What he did, or where he received the 
information, or from whom he obtained it, will 
never be known, for it was never told by any 
one. 

After several weeks' absence, Davis had pro- 
cured all the data he needed, and was on his way 
back to his own lines. In his possession were very 
important papers and drawings. As he was riding 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 377 

along, thinking that in a few hours he would be 
beyond danger of capture, he saw a body of 
Federal soldiers in the road. Hoping to pass them 
without disturbance, he rode boldly on as if he 
were going to work somewhere. 

One of the soldiers said, "We had better stop 
that boy. He might be a spy." So they called 
upon Davis to halt, and to get down from his 
horse. In spite of his protests of innocence, he was 
searched, and the papers were found in his clothes. 

Hurriedly, the boy was taken before the North- 
ern General, and the papers found upon him were 
shown. He was court-martialed, and, according to 
the rules of war, was ordered to be shot the next 
day at sunrise. Davis heard the sentence with- 
out uttering a word, or even changing color. 

The Northern General was much affected by 
the brave conduct of the young scout. Sending 
for him to come to his tent, he said to him, 

"My boy, you are very young, and you are 
very brave. I hate to take a life like yours. If 
you will tell me who gave you those papers, I will 
let you go free. Think of your mother and father, 
and of the life before you, and save yourself." 

Davis shook his head, and said, "General, I 
received those papers from a friend, and I shall 
not tell his name." 



378 AMERICA FIRST 



The General then said, "Davis, if you do not 
tell me the name of your friend, I shall be com- 
pelled, by the rules of war, to order you shot 
to-morrow morning. I hate to do this, for I 
should like to save your life. But I cannot help 
you, if you refuse." 

Davis answered, "Do you suppose I would save 
my own life by betraying a friend.'^ I have never 
betrayed anything in all my life, and I shall not 
do so now. I would rather die a thousand times 
than betray any secret committed to my care." 

There were tears in the eyes of the General. 
He thought of his own boys, and of his own scouts 
who had done similar service for him, and had 
gotten off safe. Turning to the guard, he said 
simply, "Take the lad away. It nearly breaks 
my heart to sign this order." 

The next morning, Davis was led before a file 
of soldiers. At the very last, he was firm in his 
refusal to give any information as to where he 
received the papers. Those around him begged 
him to change his mind, but he answered quietly, 

"No, I shall not betray my friend. I have 
given my word. I am ready to die as a soldier 
and a man." 

The bandage was placed over his eyes, and, in 
a few moments, the reports of the rifle told of 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 379 

the end of Sam Davis's life. On the grounds of 
the capitol, in Nashville, there is a beautiful monu- 
ment erected to his memory by the State of 
Tennessee. 



AN ESCAPE FROM PRISON 

Libby Prison was in Richmond, Virginia. Before 
the Civil War, it was a tobacco warehouse, close 
by the Lynchburg Canal, and not far from the 
James River. It was three stories high in front, 
and four in the rear, built of brick and stone, 
with thick partition walls which divided it into 
three sections, with a cellar under each. 

The first floor contained three apartments, one 
for the prison authorities, one as a hospital, and 
the third for cooking and dining purposes. The 
upper stories had sleeping quarters for the prisoners. 
In this prison, one thousand Union soldiers were 
confined. 

There was httle chance of escape from it. A 
strong guard surroimded the prison, and every 
precaution was taken. The only attempt at es- 
cape that even partially succeeded was made by 
a number of Union prisoners through an under- 
ground tunnel. 

The enterprise was undertaken by a few of the 



380 AMERICA FIRST 



most daring of the Union soldiers, and was care- 
fully kept secret from the others. One of the 
cellars, reserved for the storage of old boxes and 
barrels, was used as a starting place. Fortunately, 
it was never visited by the prison authorities, and, 
once at work, the prisoners could proceed without 
much fear of detection or interruption. 

How to reach the cellar and begin excavating 
the tunnel was the first question to be solved. It 
was decided to remove the stones and brick in 
the fireplace of the cooking room, and to make a 
sloping entrance into the cellar. All this work 
was done at night, with as little noise as possible, 
by several prisoners who were stone-masons by 
trade. By day, the bricks and stones were care- 
fully replaced, and all evidence of their labors was 
covered up. In a few days the cellar was reached, 
and all was ready to begin digging the tunnel. 

This proposed tunnel was to be just large enough 
to admit one man, crawling on hands and knees. 
It was to cross a narrow street, and enter a lot 
used as a stable yard, which was concealed from 
the street by a high board fence. Once in this 
yard, and behind the fence, the prisoners would 
be safe from detection from the street, and could 
make good their escape through the other side of 
the stable yard. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 381 

The work on the tunnel began. It was eight or 
nine feet underground, and only one man could 
dig at a time. The only tools they had were 
pocket-knives, small hatchets, a broken fire-shovel, 
and pieces of fire-wood. But the earth was soft, 
and the prospect of liberty was alluring. 

Night after night the work went on, one man 
digging forward and another one passing the dirt 
back to others who scattered it on the floor of the 
cellar and covered it with straw. The air in the 
tunnel was very close; the positions of the men 
were cramped; and there was constant danger of 
the earth caving in. But these daring men worked 
on, for they were struggling to gain their freedom. 

In about three weeks, the tunnel was considered 
to be long enough, and so the forward workman 
began to dig upwards. In a short while, he had 
made an opening, and cautiously stuck his head 
out. To his dismay he found he was on the 
wrong side of the fence, and still in the street, 
with a sentry only a few yards away. Fortu- 
nately, the sentry did not see him. Quickly con- 
cealing the opening with grass, and packing it 
from underneath so it would look like a hole in 
the ground, the workman succeeded in avoiding 
detection, and w^ork on the tunnel was renewed. 

Ten feet further on brought them well inside 



382 AMERICA FIRST 



the stable yard, and behind the protecting fence. 
The opening was now made, and, to the joy of the 
prisoners, the way of escape seemed plain. The 
evening of February 9, 1864, was appointed as 
the time to make their dash for liberty. The hour 
set was nine o'clock. One can well imagine the 
intense eagerness and excitement with which the 
men awaited the moment for their adventure. 

About one hundred men, who were in the secret, 
assembled and, in single file, one by one, they 
crawled through the opening in the fireplace, across 
the cellar, and into the tunnel. There was no 
crowding and no rushing. The men proceeded 
silently on their knees, one behind the other, and 
climbed out into the stable yard. 

As soon as two emerged, they made off together, 
and, crossing the yard, came into a nearby street. 
They strolled away, conversing in ordinary tones, 
as though they were citizens bent on their o^^^l 
affairs. They wore no prison clothes, so their ap- 
pearance excited no suspicion. In about three 
hours, one hundred and nine men had escaped, 
and had scattered through the town. Not one of 
them had been challenged by the guard, who was 
pacing his rounds on the other side of the fence. 

The fugitives found themselves in well-lighted 
streets, filled with people, and with shops open. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 383 

But they gave no sign of haste. Talking and 
laughing, they proceeded to the outskirts of the 
town, and disappeared into the open country. 

The absence of so many at roll-call the next 
morning excited the suspicion of the prison au- 
thorities. A search was immediately begun, and, 
as soon as the facts were established, an alarm 
was sent out to scour the country for the escaped 
prisoners. Of those who had gone, fifty -five 
reached the Union lines in safety, but fifty-four 
were re-captured. 



RUNNING THE BLOCKADE 

During the Civil War, the harbors of the South- 
ern ports were closely blockaded, so as to cut off 
supphes from foreign countries. In spite of the 
watchful gunboats patrolling the coasts, there were 
many adventurous blockade-runners, that slipped 
past the patrol, carrying supplies to the Confed- 
eracy, and bringing out cotton and other products 
for foreign trade. The life of a blockade-runner 
was full of perils and thrilling experiences. 

This is the story of how a blockade-runner made 
its way into Wilmington, North Carolina, which 
lies about sixteen miles up Cape Fear River. At 



384 AMERICA FIRST 



the mouth of the river was Fort Fisher, whose 
guns kept the blockading fleet some distance away, 
thus giving a blockade-nmner a chance to slip in, 
once under protection of the fort. 

The mouth of the river was heavily patrolled 
by Federal vessels. There were three sections of 
them, one cordon as near shore as was safe, and 
two others lying outside, so that a blockade-runner 
must needs be very alert to get by their vigilance. 

The Banshee was a blockade-runner operating 
from Nassau. On her first run into Wilmington, 
she left the shores of the Bahamas, and crept 
noiselessly along, invisible in the darkness, and 
keeping well out of sight of vessels in the daytime. 

During the day, a man was stationed in the 
cross-trees, and the moment a sail was seen on 
the horizon, The Banshee would turn In the op- 
posite direction, until the sail was lost beyond the 
horizon. Every time the look-out man saw a sail, 
he was given a dollar. If the sail was discovered 
first from the deck, the look-out man was fined 
five dollars. 

Thus, two days passed, and The Banshee neared 
her destination. The night was dark, but calm 
and clear. No lights were allowed — not even a 
cigar. The steersman had to see as much of the 
compass as he could through a shield that came 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY S85 

almost to his eyes. Absolute silence prevailed, as 
the blockade-runner moved into the danger zone. 

At length, they were opposite the mouth of 
Cape Fear River. 

"Better cast a lead, Captain, to find the bottom," 
whispered the Pilot. 

A muttered order down the engine-room tube, 
and Till' Banshee slowed down, and then stopped. 
The lead was cast, and the report was ''Sixteen 
fathoms — sandy bottom with black specks." 

"Not far enough in, and too far southward," 
said the Pilot. "We must get away from that 
bottom before we head in shore." 

At the end of an hour, the lead was cast again, 
and the Pilot whispered to the steersman, "All 
right, we are opposite the mouth of the river. 
Starboard, and go easy." 

The ship crept along slowly in the darkness. 
Not a sound w*as heard except the beat of tlie 
paddle floats. Suddenly, the Pilot grasped the 
Captain's arm. 

"There's one of them, on the starboard bow," 
he whispered. 

A moment afterward, a long, low, black ship 
was seen, not a hundred yards away, lying still 
on the water. The Banshee drifted by as noise- 
lessly as possible. Not a movement was seen on 



38G AMERICA FIRST 



the patrol boat, and, in a half-hour, it was lost in 
the darkness. 

Not long afterwards came the whispered alarm, 
*' Steamer on the port bow." Another cruiser was 
close by. 

"Hard-a-port," said the Captain to the steers- 
man, and Tlie Banshee swung around, barely miss- 
ing the cruiser. 

Hardly had this second ship been passed, before 
a third one loomed up, dead ahead, steaming 
slowly across the bows of The Banshee. 

"Stop her," was the quick order down the 
engine-room tube, and The Banshee lay dead on 
the water. 

"Instead of going round those blockaders, we 
are going through them," said the Pilot to the 
Captain. "Our only hope is that they will not 
recognize us, and will take us for one of them." 

Day w^as not far off, and The Banshee must 
make haste to get inside the cordons of the block- 
ade. She was headed straight for the white line of 
surf on the shore. As much speed as possible was 
made, and all eyes were strained for any familiar 
landmarks. 

Daylight now streaked the East. Fort Fisher 
was some distance off, and the gunboats were 
still on the watch for blockade-runners. In a 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 387 

half hour. The Ba7ishee would be safe, or else 
captured. 

Six or seven gunboats appeared out of the mist, 
and headed for the blockade-runner, to discover 
her identity. 

"Full steam ahead, and a race for the fort," 
cried the Captain. 

Displaying her flag, she ran full steam toward 
the protecting guns of the fort. It was now a 
question of speed and distance, for The Banshee was 
discovered, and her purpose was known! Boom! 
came the roar of guns across the waters. Splash! 
Splash! fell the shells, uncomfortably near the 
runner, which was carrying a cargo of ammunition. 

But Fort Fisher was now awake, and the guns 
began to roar. Every minute brought The Banshee 
nearer to safety, and the gunboats into greater 
danger. The guns from the fort rained shells 
over The Banshee, and into the sides of her pursuers. 

With a sullen roar, and a parting shot, the gun- 
boats drew off, and the blockade-runner glided 
under the walls of the fort. 

In and out ran The Banshee, trip after trip, 
bringing in guns, ammunition, and medicines, and 
carrying out cotton and tobacco. Her daring crew 
had many narrow escapes before the war came to 
an end. 



388 AMERICA FIRST 



THROUGH THE HEART OF THE SOUTH 

The great Civil War was drawing to a close. 
The exhausted Confederacy was bleeding to death. 
There was a shortage of men and supplies, but 
the South was hanging on desperately to a cause 
that already was doomed. Grant and Lee were 
fighting it out in Virginia, while Sherman, the 
Northern General, having captured Atlanta, was 
making ready for his march to the sea. 

His army of sixty thousand men was unopposed. 
The fair, open country was before them, with the 
harvests of the fall already gathered in the barns. 
It was to be a march of destruction, but without 
violence to the people themselves. 

"The people must feel the hard hand of war. 
It is better to lose property than to lose Uves. 
This is the best means to end the war," were the 
reflections of General Sherman, as his men started 
out on their six-weeks, holiday march to the sea. 

The distance was three hundred miles, and the 
soldiers were told to live on the country, as they 
advanced. There w^as no need of w^agon trains, when 
the land was provided with food which was being 
gathered for the Confederate soldiers in Virginia. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 389 

The Federal army spread out to cover a front 
of forty miles. The men had orders to march 
about fifteen miles a day, and to forage as they 
went along. These foragers brought in poultry, 
vegetables, cattle, and food supplies of all kinds. 
They had orders not to destroy property need- 
lessly, but these orders were not strictly observed, 
and, in many instances, farm houses, gin houses, 
and cotton crops were burned, while fields were 
laid waste. Often, the horses were taken from 
the farms, and the cows and hogs were driven 
away or else slaughtered for the immediate use of 
the soldiers. 

In spite of regulations, a large number of "bum- 
mers" and thieves followed the army, who were 
not responsible to any orders. Before these bandits 
the Southern people were helpless. They not only 
robbed houses of their provisions, but took away 
silver ware, clothing and valuable articles of 
furniture. 

In order to do as much damage as possible, the 
soldiers tore up the railroad tracks, burned the 
ties, and, heating the rails, bent many of them 
around the telegraph poles. In this way, a path 
of desolation was cut through the heart of the 
South, that did much to hasten the inevitable 
end of the conflict. 



390 AMERICA FIRST 



The Federal army was followed by crowds of 
negroes, many of them neither knowing where they 
were headed, nor what the march meant. They 
were just moving along with the soldiers, careless 
and happy, singing their songs, by night, and 
helping the marching men, by day. 

"Bless de Lord, we'se free, and we'se gwine 
along wid dese sojers," said one old woman with 
a child in her arms. 

"But where are you going, and what will you 
do when you get there .f^" asked one of the 
officers. 

"Dat makes no diffunce now. Dat's a mont' 
off. I nevah looks dat fur ahead," was the philo- 
sophical reply. 

The soldiers traveled along leisurely. The 
weather was good, the supplies were sufficient, 
the march was unopposed. All the telegraph lines 
were cut, and no news of their whereabouts was 
sent to the North. They were having a holiday, 
after the hard fighting of the first part of the year. 

Finally, after much anxiety on the part of the 
North, General Sherman reached Savannah. On 
Christmas Eve he sent a message to President 
Lincoln : 

"I beg to present to you, as a Christmas gift, 
the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 391 

guns, and plenty of ammunition; also about 
twenty-five thousand bales of cotton." 

Thus it was that Sherman's army marched 
through Georgia, doing no violence to the people, 
but doing a property damage that was estimated 
at one hundred millions of dollars. Such is the 
sad havoc of war. 



THE SURRENDER OF GENERAL LEE 

At a house, in the little town of Appomattox, 
Virginia, on April 9, 1865, a memorable event took 
place. General Robert E. Lee here met General 
Ulysses S. Grant, and surrendered the Confederate 
Army under his command. 

For four years, the terrible war between the 
North and South had been going on, until the 
Southern Army w^as reduced to a bare handful of 
ill-fed and badly clothed men. The South had 
been drained of her men and supplies, and Lee 
saw it was- useless to continue the unequal struggle 
any longer. 

The two great Generals met by agreement in 
this village to arrange terms for the cessation of 
hostilities. 

The contrast between the two men was striking. 



392 AMERICA FIRST 



Grant was forty-three years of age, five feet, eight 
inches tall, with brown hair and full brown beard. 
He wore a single-breasted blouse, of dark blue 
flannel, an ordinary pair of top-boots, with his 
trousers inside; he was without spurs, and he had 
no sword. A pair of shoulder-straps was all to 
show his rank. Around him sat or stood a dozen 
of his staff officers. 

Lee, on the other hand, was six feet tall, and 
faultlessly attired. His hair and beard were silver 
gray, and quite thick for one of his age. He was 
sixteen years older than Grant. He wore a new 
Confederate uniform, and, by his side, was a 
sword of exquisite workmanship, the hilt studded 
with jewels. It was the sword presented to him 
by the State of Virginia. His boots were new and 
clean, and he wore a pair of handsome spurs. He 
was attended by a single officer, his mihtary 
secretary. 

Lee was the first to arrive, and, when Grant 
entered, he arose and bowed profoundly. Grant 
and his officers returned the greeting. Grant then 
sat at a marble-top table, in the center of the 
room, while Lee sat at a small oval table, near a 
window. 

General Grant began the conversation by say- 
ing, "I met you once before. General Lee, while 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 393 

we were serving in Mexico. I have always remem- 
bered your appearance, and I think I should have 
recognized you anywhere." 

"Yes," replied Lee, "I know I met you in 
Mexico, and I have often thought of it. Those 
were wonderful experiences for us, when we were 
young soldiers." 

After a few more remarks about Mexico, Lee 
said, "I suppose. General Grant, that the object 
of our meeting is understood. I asked to see you 
to find out upon what terms you would receive 
the surrender of my army." 

Grant replied, "The terms are that all officers 
and men surrendered are to be paroled, and are 
not to take up arms again; and all guns, ammu- 
nition, and supplies are to be handed over as cap- 
tured property." 

Lee suggested that the terms be written out for 
his acceptance. This was done. Grant adding that 
the side-arms, horses, and baggage of the officers 
were not to be included in the terms of surrender. 
There was no demand made for the surrender of 
Lee's sword, nor was there any offer of it on Lee's 
part. In fact, nothing was said about it. 

When the document was written, Lee took out 
his glasses, and slowly put them on. Reading the 
terms of surrender, he remarked, 



394 AMERICA FIRST 



"1 would like to mention that the cavalry and 
artillery own their horses. I would like to know 
whether those men will be permitted to retain 
their own stock." 

Grant immediately replied, "I take it that most 
of the men in the ranks are small farmers, and, 
as the country has been so raided by the armies, 
it is doubtful if they will be able to put in a crop 
to carry them through next winter without the aid 
of the horses they now have. I will instruct the 
officers to let the men, who claim to own horses 
or mules, take the animals home with them to 
work their little farms." 

Lee appreciated this concession, and said, "This 
will have the very best possible effect upon the 
men. It will do much toward conciliating our 
people." He then wrote out his acceptance of the 
terms of the surrender. 

When this was done. General Grant introduced 
the members of his staff to General Lee. Some of 
them Lee had known before, and the conversation 
became general and cordial. Lee at length said, 
"General Grant, I have a thousand or more of 
your men as prisoners, a number of them officers. 
I shall be glad to send them into your lines as 
soon as possible, for I have no provisions for them. 
I have indeed nothing for my own men. They 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 395 

have been living for the last few days on parched 
corn, and we are badly in need of both rations 
and forage." 

General Grant immediately offered to receive 
the prisoners back into his own lines, and said, 
"I will take steps to have your army supplied with 
rations at once." Turning to an officer, he gave 
the command for the issuing of the rations to the 
hungry Confederate Army. 

The two Generals then shook hands, and, bow- 
ing gravely to the others, Lee prepared to depart. 
Reaching the porch, he signaled for the orderly 
to bring up his horse. When it was ready, he 
mounted and rode away, to break the sad news 
to the brave fellows he had so long commanded. 

The news of the surrender reached the Union 
lines, and .firing of salutes began at several places. 
Grant sent orders to stop this, saying, 

"The war is over, and it is ill-becoming to re- 
joice in the downfall of a gallant foe." 

When Lee appeared among his soldiers, they 
saw by his sad countenance that he brought them 
news of surrender. They stood in silence, as he 
rode before them, every hat raised, and down the 
bronzed cheek of thousands of hardened veterans 
there ran bitter tears. 

As Lee rode slowly along the lines, the old sol- 



396 AMERICA FIRST 



diers pressed about him, trying to take his hand, 
to touch his person, or even to lay their hands 
upon his splendid gray horse, thus showing for 
him their deep affection. Then General Lee, with 
bare head, and tears flowing, bade adieu to his 
soldiers. In a few words, he told the brave men, 
who had been so true, to return to their homes, 
and begin to rebuild their waste lands. 

LAYING THE ATLANTIC CABLE 

A number of years ago, a wealthy, retired mer- 
chant of New York City, named Cyrus W. Field, 
sat in the library of his home, studying a large 
globe of the world. He w^as thinking about the 
electric telegraph that Morse had invented, and 
was wondering how far it would carry a message. 

He was also thinking that Commodore Maury 
had said to him a short while before that the 
ocean bottom was a table-land along a certain 
direction, and could easily hold an electric cable, 
if it were laid properly. 

"What an advantage it would be to civilization 
if the electric telegraph could be used between 
countries on opposite sides, of the ocean," he said 
to himself. "To-morrow I will speak to my friend 
Peter Cooper about it." 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 397 

The next morning, he not only talked the matter 
over with Peter Cooper, but wrote a letter to 
Samuel Morse. 

Peter Cooper afterwards said, "I am glad that 
Field chose me among the first to discuss this 
great enterprise, but I felt sure at the time that 
most people would think us crazy." 

Cooper, however, agreed to the enterprise, be- 
cause he saw that a great deal of good could come 
of it, and he wanted to help his friend, Cyrus 
Field. Together, they went to their wealthy 
friends, and raised a large sum of money to form 
the Atlantic Telegraph Company. 

The first undertaking was to lay a line on the 
ocean bed, from the mainland to the island of 
Newfoundland. This was readily done, and was a 
success, showing that cable lines could transmit 
messages under the water. 

Field and Morse then went to England, and 
appeared before the British Government. "We 
have come to propose to your lordships that you 
join us in uniting, by an electric cable, the two 
great countries of Great Britain and America. It 
will take a great deal of money, but, in the end 
it will bring much benefit to both peoples. We 
are ready to do our part." 

"But suppose you make the attempt and fail, 



398 AMERICA FIRST 



and your cable is lost at the bottom of the sea. 
Then, what will you do?" asked an Englishman. 

"Why, if the cable is lost, I shall lay another, 
and another, until one does reach and hold. Every 
cable I lose I shall charge to profit and loss, and 
then I shall start over again," was the reply of 
the American. 

This so pleased the British that they at once 
offered to furnish money and a vessel to help lay 
the cable. Congress also appropriated money, and 
thus the two Governments were pledged to the 
great enterprise. 

The British ship, Agamemnon, and the American 
ship, Niagara, were set apart for the work. Each 
vessel carried a load of cable, and they sailed from 
the coast of Ireland. On board the American ship 
were Field and Morse. 

The Niagara began the work. The cable was 
securely anchored to the shore, and unwound 
along the bottom .of the ocean, as the vessel 
steamed slowly along. Mile after mile was paid 
out in this way, the big cylinder slowly revolving, 
and the long, dark cable falling into the ocean bed. 
Day and night the work went on, the other vessel 
standing by to take up the work when the Niagara 
had exliausted her supply of cable. 

At the end of three hundred miles there was a 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 399 

wrench and a tug, and the cable snapped in two. 
There was a great cry, "The cable has parted; 
the cable has parted." 

Naturally, this caused bitter disappointment and 
much discouragement. "You will never succeed. 
It is too great an undertaking. You had better 
give it up," was all that Field heard on every side. 

"I shall not give it up," said he, "but will start 
in mid-ocean, and let the vessels go in opposite 
directions, one toward Ireland and the other toward 
Newfoundland." 

And so he did. With a new supply of cable, 
he started, in mid-ocean, having spliced the ends 
of the cable together. Each vessel sailed towards 
its own country, slowly paying out the cable on 
the ocean bed from the great coil in the stern. 

In a few weeks, there came the news, "The 
cable is laid. The cable is laid." The people 
were now as excited over the success of the cable 
as they had been gloomy and doubtful before- 
hand. Bells were rung, guns were fired, and great 
placards were hung about the streets of New 
York. And there were many speeches of con- 
gratulation ! 

On the 16th of August, 1858, Queen Victoria 
sent a cable message to President Buchanan, and 
the President sent a courteous reply. They were 



400 AMERICA FIRST 



messages of friendship and good-will between the 
two countries, now united by a cable nearly three 
thousand miles long, over which a message could 
travel in the fraction of a second. 

But amidst all the rejoicing came word that for 
some reason the cable would not work. No more 
messages could be transmitted, and nobody could 
find out the reason why. More than a million 
dollars had been spent, and nothing profitable had 
come of it! 

Then the Civil War began, and for four years 
the American people thought of little else than the 
great struggle. Cyrus Field was forgotten, but he 
did not forget, nor did he lose hope. 

*'When the war is over, and the mind of the 
world is settled, I shall try again, — but not until 
then," he said to some friends. 

At last, the time came, and Field renewed his 
efforts. He now had but one vessel. The Great 
Eastern. It was a monster ship, remodeled for the 
purpose of carrying the cable and laying it on the 
ocean bed. Another failure was added to the list 
of early attempts, for the cable parted in mid- 
ocean, and sank to the bottom. 
. Again an effort was made, and The Great Eastern 
set sail with its coil of cable. This last trip was 
crowned with success, and the cable was laid. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 401 

Then The Great Eastern returned to mid-ocean, 
and began grappling for the cable she had lost on 
her first voyage. The broken ends were found, 
welded together properly, and, before the end of 
1866, two cables were working between Ireland and 
America. 

Field had labored for thirteen years, and had 
spent a great deal of money, but at last he had 
succeeded. More than a dozen cables now cross 
the Atlantic, and many stretch over the vast bed 
of the Pacific; all shores are now in touch with 
each other, and messages can be sent around the 
world in a few hours. 

This is due to the energy and perseverance of 
the man who did not know how to fail, and who 
would not give up trying! 



THE STORY OF THE TELEPHONE 

There was a great Exposition held in Phila- 
delphia, in 1876. It was called the Centennial, 
because it celebrated the one-hundredth anniver- 
sary of the Declaration of Independence. Nearly 
every country in the world contributed to the ex- 
hibits, and people from every nation came to see 
the wonderful display of art and industry. 



1 



402 AMERICA FIRST 



Among the visitors was Dom Pedro, the Em- 
peror of Brazil. He was a man of great knowl- 
edge, and was much interested in invention. The 
officials of the Exposition showed him special at- 
tention. Among other things, he was asked to a 
room where the judges were passing on the objects 
offered for exhibition. A young man was speaking 
to the Committee. 

*'I have here a new invention," he said, "the 
purpose of which is to convey the human voice 
over a wire by electricity, so that it can be heard 
a long distance off. I call it a telephone." 

The judges were tired, and the hour was late. 
They were about to dismiss the young man with- 
out even trying to see whether his invention would 
work. They did not put the receiver to their ears, 
nor did they speak in the mouth-piece when the 
inventor asked them to do so. 

Dom Pedro stood in the doorway, and listened 
to what was going on. He saw the eagerness m 
the. face of the young man, and noticed the in- 
difference of the judges. He felt indignant that so 
much enthusiasm should meet with so great a rebuff. 

Stepping into the room, he was surprised to 
recognize the young man as Alexander Graham 
Bell, whom he had met in Boston, and to whom 
he had already taken a great fancy. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 403 

"Let me examine your instrument, if you please," 
he said politely, and put the receiver to his ear. 

Bell went into another room, where the other 
end of the wire was, and recited into the trans- 
mitter some lines from a great poem, which Dom 
Pedro heard distinctly. 

"This is very wonderful," he said. "I think, 
gentlemen, you will make a mistake not to allow 
Mr. Bell to exhibit his telephone, for it is a very 
interesting device, and may some day be a service- 
able one." 

The judges were anxious to please their distin- 
guished visitor, and so allowed the telephone to 
have space. 

"It is merely a toy, and it might amuse the 
public, at any rate," said one. 

But this toy proved to be one of the great at- 
tractions at the Exposition. Crowds came every 
day to hear the voices of their friends over the 
wire. The question asked by many was, "Have 
you tried the telephone yet.'^" 

Alexander Graham Bell was a teacher of deaf- 
mutes. They were taught to know what others 
were saying by watching the motion of their lips. 
The system had been worked out by Bell's father, 
but young Bell had greatly improved upon it. He 
had succeeded in teaching persons, born deaf, and 



404 AMERICA FIRST 



those who had become deaf in infancy, not only 
to understand the motion of lips, but also to speak. 

One of his pupils was a young girl who had 
lost her hearing when a baby, and, in consequence, 
her speech also. She was a lovable, bright girl. 
Bell taught her to speak and to understand what 
others were saying. She afterwards became his 
wife, and helped him with his telephone. 

Work on the telephone w^as done by the in- 
ventor at odd hours, after he had finished his 
day's teaching. He was very poor, and could not 
afford to buy material or tools. The first telephone 
was made out of an old cigar-box, two hundred 
feet of wire, and two magnets taken from a toy 
fish pond. 

But the inventor kept on working, and, the year 
after the Centennial, the telephone was put into 
practical use by the public. People at first thought 
it was a luxury, and they were slow to adopt it. 
But, nowadays, it has become a household con- 
venience and a business necessity. We speak from 
one city to another, and even across the continent. 
It is no longer regarded as a toy, but it has been 
added to the long list of American inventions that 
facilitate business and make life more comfortable. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 405 



THOMAS A. EDISON, THE GREAT 
INVENTOR 

The story of our great inventors would not be 
complete without telling about Edison, the greatest 
of them all. TOien he was a boy, he sold papers 
for a while on a train. On one occasion, while he 
was standing at a station, he saw a little child 
playing on the track. Just at that moment, a 
train came thundering along. Edison jumped on 
the track, in front of the moving engine, and 
rescued the child. The father was the telegraph 
operator at the station. To show his gratitude, 
he offered to teach telegraphy to the young 
newsboy. 

In a few years, Edison became a swift and 
competent operator. He was offered employment 
in a Boston office. When he appeared, dressed in 
shabby clothes, for he was very poor, the other 
operators in the room made fun of him. But Edi- 
son did not care, and took his place at his desk. 
In a short time, an operator from New York, 
noted for his swiftness, called up the Boston 
office. 

"Let the new man take the message," said the 



406 AMERICA FIRST 



chief. He desired to try out Edison, of whose 
ability he knew nothing. 

Edison sat down, and for four hours and a half 
wrote the message, as it came over the wire. Not 
once did he ask the operator to go more slowly, 
but kept up with him easily. Faster and faster 
ticked the instrument, while Edison's fingers flew 
over the pages, taking down every word as it 
came. 

The oth'er operators gathered around in amaze- 
ment to see this exhibition of speed. Edison paid 
no attention to them. 

At the end of a long period, the operator send- 
ing the message inquired over the wire, 

"Who are you taking this message.'^" Edison 
replied, "I am Thomas A. Edison, the new 
operator." 

"You are the first man in the country," was 
the reply, "who could ever take me at my fastest, 
and the only one who could sit at the other end 
of my wire for more than tw^o hours and a half. 
I am proud to know you." 

All the time that Edison was an operator, his 
mind was busy on inventions and improvements. 
When he was seventeen, he invented the duplex 
telegraph, by which several messages could be sent 
on the same wire at the same time, even in op- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 407 

posite directions, without causing any confusion. 
This was a great saving of time. 

Shortly afterwards, he went to New York, where 
he soon became known as an electrical expert. 
The first invention that brought him any consider- 
able money was the ticker for stock-brokers' offices. 
Tliis ticker was an electrical machine for recording 
quotations in the stock market. He was paid 
forty thousand dollars for this invention. 

He next persuaded some men in New York to 
furnish the money for him to experiment in mak- 
ing a lamp for the electric light. They agreed to 
pay all his expenses, and, if it was a success, they 
were to share in the profits. Edison moved to 
Menlo Park, New Jersey, and opened a little shop 
and laboratory. 

After awhile, he announced that he had made 
an electric lamp that would burn, and soon had 
eighty electric fights in Menlo Park. This was 
very promising, and everybody was greatly in- 
terested in the results. Suddenly, the lamps went 
out, and Edison was much discouraged, but he 
was not the man to give up. 

For five days and nights he remained at his 
laboratory, sleeping only a few hours at a time. 
The world declared the electric lamps a failure. 
One prominent man said they could not be made. 



408 AMERICA FIRST 



"I will make a statue of that man, and light it 
with electric lights, and put a sign on it, saying 
'Here is the man that said the Edison lamp will 
not burn,'" was the inventor's reply. 

After much hard labor, Edison discovered that 
the reason why his lamp would not burn was be- 
cause the air had not been sufficiently exhausted 
from the glass bulbs. So he set about remedying 
the defect, after which the lamps burned brightly 
and lasted a long time. Now, all the world uses 
electric light. 

Edison invented the first electric railway, and 
because of him the electric cars are used on the 
streets of nearly every city, large and small. He 
invented the phonograph for recording and repro- 
ducing sound. He also invented the kinetoscope, 
which was the beginning of the moving pictures. 

Many other inventions have been made by him; 
so many, indeed, that he has accumulated a large 
fortune, and is known as ''The Wizard of Menlo 
Park," though his laboratories are now at Orange, 
New Jersey. 

It is quite certain that no other inventor has 
produced so many things that have added to the 
comfort and pleasure of the world as Thomas A. 
Edison. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 409 



CLARA BARTON AND THE RED CROSS 

At the outbreak of the Civil War, a young 
woman who was a clerk in the Patent Office, at 
Washington, gave up her position, and volunteered 
to nurse soldiers without pay. She knew that the 
sick, wounded, and dying men would need the 
comfort that only a woman's hand can give. Her 
name was Clara Barton. She did not go to hos- 
pitals, where it was safe for her to be, but she 
went on the battlefields, where the awful carnage 
of death was around her. 

Inspired by her example, other women under- 
took the same work, some going to the hospitals, 
and others following the armies, but *"all nursing 
the sick, comforting the dying, and keeping their 
last messages for the loved ones at home. 

After the war, Clara Barton went to Europe. 
In 1859, one hot day in summer, there was fought 
the great battle of Solferino, at the end of which 
more than thirty-five thousand men lay dead and 
wounded on the field of battle. There was no aid 
for them. For hours and even days they lay 
where they had fallen. A Swiss, by the name of 
Henri Dunant, visited the battlefield, and was so 



410 AMERICA FIRST 



overcome by its horrors that he wrote circular 
letters, and dehvered lectures, calling upon all 
nations to form some sort of a society to relieve 
the distress of the wounded. 

*'If nations will go to war, then there should be 
some means to help those who suffer by it. I call 
upon all nations to send representatives to Geneva, 
Switzerland, in order to establish a society for this 
purpose," said he. 

The conference met, and formed an organiza- 
tion, which had for its purpose the care of the sick 
and wounded on the battlefield and in hospitals. 
The society adopted a badge, or flag, which was 
a red cross on a white ground. This was done in 
compliment to the Swiss Republic, whose flag was 
a white cross on a red ground. The organization 
soon became known as The Red Cross Society. 
Many nations signed an agreement to respect the 
principals of this Society. 

When Clara Barton, who was in Switzerland, 
recovering her health, heard of this society, she 
was filled with joy and hope. It was the kind of 
work she most loved, and she resolved to give her 
whole life to the Red Cross. 

At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War, 
in 1870, Clara Barton saw her opportunity for 
service. After the siege of Strasburg, there were 




She spoke to them in hopeful tones.' 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 411 

twenty thousand people without homes and em- 
ployment, and starvation threatened them all. 
Clara Barton secured materials for thirty thousand 
garments, and gave them out to the poor women 
of the city to be made up. She paid good wages 
for the work. Everywhere she went, the soldiers 
and people lent a helping hand. 

After the war, the city of Paris was in the 
hands of lawless men of the lowest character. The 
Army of the Republic besieged the city, and the 
most dreadful scenes of conflict occurred. There 
was fighting on the streets, and many innocent 
persons were killed. In the midst of these horrors, 
Clara Barton entered the city on foot, and began 
her work of helping the sick and wounded. 

One day, a great crowd surged through the 
streets of Paris, crying for bread. The soldiers 
were powerless before such a mob. Clara Barton 
raised her head as if to speak to them. The 
crowd stopped, and she spoke in calm and hopeful 
words. In the end, they cried out, "It is an angel 
that speaks to us," and quietly went back to their 
homes. 

When the war was over, there were removed 
from Paris ten thousand wounded men, who other- 
wise would have suffered and perhaps died through 
lack of care. All this was done by the Red Cross 



412 AMERICA FIRST 



Society, working under the direction of Clara 
Barton. 

She now returned to America, to found a similar 
society in this country. It was not until 1882 that 
the United States signed the treaty of Geneva, 
and joined the family of nations in this great work. 
The American plan, however, went further in its 
purpose than relief in times of war. It included 
relief for the distressed at any time, and to meet 
any calamity, such as earthquake, flood, fire, and 
pestilence. Clara Barton was the first President 
of the American Red Cross. 

A great fire swept through the forests of Michi- 
gan. For many days, it raged in unchecked fury. 
Homes, farms, woods, were swept away, and thou- 
sands of people were left homeless and penniless. 
The Red Cross Society was there promptly with 
its offers of relief. The call for aid went forth, 
and supplies poured in from every direction, until 
eighty thousand dollars in money, food, and cloth- 
ing were available for the suffering people of 
Michigan. 

Then came floods along the Ohio and Mississippi 
rivers, fearful cyclones in the West, an earthquake 
in South Carolina, and a long and terrible drought 
in Texas. To them all the Red Cross w^ent, with 
Clara Barton as its inspiration. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 413 

In 1889, the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 
was swept away by a flood, caused by the break- 
ing of a dam. Nearly five thousand lives were 
lost, and twelve million dollars worth of property 
was destroyed. It was a most dreadful calamity. 
Hardly had the news reached the country, before 
Clara Barton and the Red Cross were in Johns- 
town, organizing relief for the severely stricken 
people. For five months she stayed amid those 
scenes of desolation and woe. 

"The first to come and the last to go," said one 
of the newspapers, "she has indeed been an elder 
sister to us — nursing, tending, caring for the 
stricken ones through a season of distress such as 
no other people may ever know." 

When the war with Spain occurred, Clara Bar- 
ton was seventy years old, but she went to Cuba, 
and did heroic work there. At the time of the 
Galveston flood, she was eighty years old, but she 
went to that stricken community, and for many 
days labored to relieve the sufferings of the people. 

The American Red Cross has grown into a very 
large and useful society, and has many thousands 
of members. It has contributed a great deal of 
money to a suffering world. For the victims in the 
Japanese famine, it contributed nearly a quarter of 
a million dollars. For those rendered homeless by 



414 AMERICA FIRST 



the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, in 1905, it gave 
twelve thousand dollars. For the sufferers in the 
great California earthquake, in 1906, it gave more 
than three million dollars. Wherever humanity has 
a need, wherever it raises a cry for help, the Red 
Cross holds out its hand in relief and comfort. 

In the recent World War, the American Red 
Cross sent its workers into the home camps, and 
overseas, to be with the soldiers in time of need. 
Whatever the men desired in the way of comfort 
and help, which the Government could not supply, 
the Red Cross was ready and willing to give. Its 
doctors, nurses, and directors numbered many 
thousands. What they did for the wounded and 
the dying will be the subject of many an inspiring 
story for years to come. 



HOBSON AND THE MERRIMAC 

The War with Spain was undertaken for the 
purpose of delivering Cuba from the oppressive 
rule of Spain. It was therefore natural that the 
main object of the United States Government 
should be to drive the Spaniards from that island. 

When the war began, there was some uncer- 
tainty as to the size and strength of the Spanish 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 415 

navy. We knew that Spain had fine battleships, 
but we did not know how they were equipped and 
manned, or what training their gunners possessed. 
It was feared that the Spanish fleet might appear 
off the Atlantic Coast, and bombard New York or 
Boston. As it turned out, we can now afford to 
laugh at such foolish fears. 

The Spanish navy was under command of Ad- 
miral Cervera. Our own fleet hunted for weeks, 
before it was discovered that the Spaniards had 
taken refuge in the harbor of Santiago. Imme- 
diately, the American fleet blockaded the harbor 
so that the Spanish boats could not get out. The 
Spanish admiral knew the weakness of his vessels. 
He had five ships, but his crews were not trained, 
and his gunners had but little practice; they were 
by no means the equal of th^ American marksmen. 

Days and weeks passed in idleness. Cervera re- 
fused to come out, and the American Commanders 
guarded the mouth of the harbor day and night. 
It was feared that the Spanish ships would slip 
out under cover of darkness, and be free to inflict 
damage along the United States coast before they 
could be destroyed. But they did not attempt to 
offer battle to the American fleet. 

To prevent their escape, a daring exploit was 
planned by Lieutenant Richard P. Hobson. He 



416 AMERICA FIRST 



proposed to sink the collier, Merrimac, in the chan- 
nel of the harbor so as, effectually, to prevent any 
ships from passing in or out. Lieutenant Hobson, 
with seven companions, started out on the collier, 
in the dead of night, and slowly steamed away. 

When the Spaniards discovered the approach of 
the collier, they opened fire upon her from the 
shore batteries on both sides. It seemed that the 
shells must certainly pierce her through and 
through. Escape for the men aboard appeared 
impossible. 

But they were cool-headed and kept on until 
they reached the desired position. Just before 
they were ready to sink the collier, and take to 
their boats, the rudder of the Merrimac was shot 
away. Hence, she sank diagonally instead of 
across the channel. The position of the wreck did 
not entirely block the entrance; it left a passage 
open for the unfortunate dash for liberty which 
was made later by the Spanish fleet. 

\ATien the Merrimac was sunk in the channel, 
Hobson and his men took to a raft, and there they 
clung till morning. It was impossible to escape 
the searching fire of the enemy, afloat as they were 
in the open harbor. But, when day came, and the 
Spaniards saw their helpless plight, they sent a 
boat out and took them prisoners. Admiral Cer- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 417 

vera, himself, helped lift Hobson out of the water, 
and was so filled with admiration for his daring 
that he sent a flag of truce to the American fleet 
with the news that all the men were safe in his 
hands. 

The prisoners were treated with great respect, 
and, later, were exchanged for a number of Spanish 
prisoners, held by our forces. 



DEWEY AT MANILA BAY 

The beautiful islands, laiown as the Philippines, 
were the possession of Spain. When war between 
that country and the United States seemed in- 
evitable, Commodore George Dewey was ordered 
to collect a fleet at Hong-Kong, and hold it in 
readiness for instant action. 

Nothing suited Dewey better. He purchased a 
large supply of coal and provisions, called for a few 
more ships, collected stores of ammunition, and 
put his men under strict orders. By April, of 
1898, he found himself in command of a fleet of 
nine ships, ready for battle, and quietly awaiting 
orders. 

He had not long to wait. He received a cable- 
gram from the Secretary of the Navy, "War has 



418 AMERICA FIRST 



commenced between the United States and Spain. 
Proceed at once to the Phihppine Islands. Cap- 
ture vessels or destroy them. Use utmost en- 
deavors." 

Dewey smiled with deep satisfaction. The 
chance of a lifetime had come, and he was ready. 
He issued orders to sail at once, and the very 
next day the fleet began its long voyage of six 
hundred miles to the Philippines. For three days 
and three nights they struggled through a boister- 
ous sea, before they reached the mouth of Manila 
Bay. 

This bay is a very beautiful harbor. Two small 
islands stand like sentries at its mouth, with their 
cliffs rising five hundred feet above the water. On 
those cliffs, as well as on other points of the main- 
land, were forts bristling with guns. Twenty-five 
miles up the bay, lay Manila, the capital of the 
Philippines, with its quarter of a million inhabit- 
ants. Its low-lying ground, intersected with many 
water-ways, made it known as the Venice of the 
East. It was Dewey's purpose to enter the Bay 
of Manila and to find the Spanish fleet there. 

Night had fallen on April 30, 1898. As silent 
as ghosts, with all lights out, and in close order, 
the American battleships crept through the chan- 
nel under the frowning forts. The moon, rising 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 419 

over the eastern waters, gave the ships the appear- 
ance of gray spectres ghding in a smooth sea. "I 
beheve they will not see us," remarked an officer 
quietly, to the watchful Commander. ''Evidently 
they are not expecting us so soon." 

The ships were now half-way in the channel, 
and opposite the forts. Suddenly, a shot from a 
shore battery broke the stillness of the night. 
Then another and another were fired in quick suc- 
cession. The fleet answered at once, and put on 
full steam ahead, for there was no longer any need 
of concealment. In a short while, the danger- 
point was passed, no damage was done, and the 
fleet was on its way up the bay to Manila, and to 
the Spanish men-of-war. 

All night long the fleet steamed forward, silently 
and slowly. The rising moon made a silver path 
over the waters. The tropical breeze fanned slowly 
over the decks, and the hills loomed dark against 
the sky line. There was nothing on this beautiful 
night to indicate the approach of one of the deci- 
sive battles of modern history. 

The next morning, the ever-memorable first day 
of May, the vigilant American Commander saw 
what he was looking for — the Spanish fleet, lying 
close under the guns of Cavite, a small town a few 
miles from Manila. 



420 AMERICA FIRST 



"The hour has come," said Dewey. "Nothing 
can prevent a battle. They cannot escape us, for 
we command the outlet of the harbor. It is their 
day or ours." Whereupon he gave orders for im- 
mediate action. 

. With Dewey there were nine vessels, only six of 
which were to be engaged in battle, the others 
being supply ships and a revenue cutter. The 
best vessel of the American fleet was The Olympia, 
the flagship. The Spanish fleet numbered ten, the 
largest of which was the Reina Cristina. None of 
the Spanish ships could be compared in size and 
strength with Dewey's The Olympia. 

The two fleets were well matched, both being 
equipped with modern guns, about equal in num- 
ber, as well as having about the same number of 
men. The advantage was slightly with the Ameri- 
cans, but, on the other hand, the Spanish fleet was 
backed up by the shore batteries at CaVite. 

"Order the supply-ship out of range, place the 
fleet in line of battle, and prepare for immediate 
action," directed the Commander. It was then 
about six o'clock in the morning. 

Promptly the American fleet swung into line, 
and moved toward the enemy. The Spanish guns | 
opened on them as they approached, but they 
gave no reply. Silently and steadily they came I 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 421 

nearer and nearer, until within a range of five 
thousand yards. 

Dewey turned to the Captain of The Olympia, and 
said, "If you are ready, Gridley, you may fire." 

The American ships now formed in a half circle, 
swinging before the massed enemy. An eight-inch 
shell from The Olympia sped across the water 
toward the Spanish flagship. A little later on, the 
order to open with all the guns brought every 
ship into action, as the fleet moved forward in a 
graceful curve. A terrific fire from the Spanish 
fleet and forts was the answer, and the battle of 
Manila Bay had begun. 

Again and again the great American battleships 
swept around, pouring a deadly fire into the 
Spanish vessels, coming each time nearer and 
nearer, and doing more and more damage. In the 
midst of the action, the Spanish flagship, Reina 
Cristina, moved out to give battle to The Olympia. 
Dewey concentrated all the fire of his whole fleet 
upon her. Amidst an awful raking of shells, the 
Spanish vessel halted, broken and torn, and turned 
to flee. She was hardly able to struggle back to 
her companions; two hundred and fifty of her 
crew lay dead or wounded upon her shattered 
decks. 

Five times did the American fleet swing past thfc 



422 AMERICA FIRST 



enemy, each time doing more deadly work than 
before. Then Dewey drew his fleet off to the op- 
posite shore, to prepare for the final engagement. 
The foolish Spaniards thought he had withdrawn 
entirely, and cabled to Madrid that the battle was 
over, and that Dewey had retired to bury his 
dead. They were soon to find out otherwise. 

The men ate breakfast, and then brought up 
fresh supplies of ammunition. The decks were 
cleaned, the guns examined, and at eleven o'clock 
came the order to continue the battle. Slowly 
the American fleet swung around in its half circle 
and began its destructive work. One by one the 
Spanish ships went down, until the whole fleet was 
utterly destroyed. In a few hours the battle of 
Manila Bay was over. 

Admiral Montojo, the Spanish Commander, es- 
caped by land to Manila, while Dewey was de- 
stroying the shore batteries with the unerring 
marksmanship of his gunners. 

The victory was complete. The Spaniards lost 
every ship of their fleet, and six hundred and 
thirty -four men in killed and wounded. The Ameri- 
can ships were not seriously damaged, not a man 
had been killed, and only eight had been wounded. 
The Spanish rule of three and a half centuries in 
the Philippines was broken forever! 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 423 



CONQUERING THE YELLOW FEVER 

There was an enemy that for hundreds of years 
no one learned to conquer. Its presence spread 
terror wherever it appeared. It lurked in Southern 
cities, but, often, it stalked broadcast over the 
whole country, scattering death wherever it came. 
That enemy was the yellow fever. 

Its ravages had been endured with hopeless de- 
spair, with no chance to escape but in flight; and, 
often, flight was denied to those who lived in the 
stricken districts. Quarantine was rigidly enforced. 
So terrified were those who lived in the uninfected 
regions, that refugees from yellow fever cities were 
turned back by loaded shot-guns. 

Household goods were destroyed, bedding and 
clothing and even houses were burned, to prevent 
the spread of the disease. Yet it was only held 
in check, and the people continued to live in terror 
of it. Just the announcement that yellow fever 
had appeared in a town was enough to make the 
bravest heart turn sick with the awful conse- 
quence of the horror it might mean. 

Yellow fever had always been present in Cuba. 
Ships from that island brought it into Southern 



424 AMERICA FIRST 



cities, and the contagion, once started, went on its 
ravages for months at a time. When Cuba was 
occupied by the United States, the problem of the 
yellow fever was in the hands of our Government. 

Our soldiers were going into Cuba, and it was 
said that those who went would sooner or later 
have the fever. Many lives were thus imperilled. 
It was for our Government to find out what meas- 
ures could be taken to save the men. 

A Board of Medical Commissioners was ap- 
pointed to go to Cuba and investigate the yellow 
fever. Of this Board, Major Walter Reed, an 
army surgeon, was appointed chairman. Major 
Reed had never had the fever, but he was too 
brave an officer and too devoted a surgeon to do 
otherwise than welcome this opportunity for service. 

He had to deal with a treacherous enemy, that 
stalked up and down in the dark, attacking its 
unsuspecting victims. No one knew how it came, 
or by what means it spread. It was found wher- 
ever filth and darkness prevailed, and was sup- 
posed to be a filth disease. 

"The first thing we will do will be to clean up 
Havana, and not leave any place for fever germs 
to lurk," said Major Reed. 

For a year and a half the most rigid sanitary 
measures were enforced. Deaths from other causes 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 425 

were reduced, but yellow fever went on its way 
unchecked. Plainly it was not a filth disease. Dr. 
Carlos Finlay, a physician in Cuba, offered the 
suggestion that the fever might be carried by the 
bite of a mosquito. The other members of the 
Commission scoffed at the idea. 

"Everything else has failed in explaining why 
the disease spreads. I see no reason why we should 
scoff at this idea," remarked Dr. Reed. "It is cer- 
tainly w^orth investigating." 

There w^as but one way to find out, and that 
was for those who had not had the fever to be 
bitten by a mosquito that had come from the body 
of a yellow fever patient. The members of the 
Commission tried the experiment on themselves. 
Dr. Carroll was bitten by an infected mosquito, 
took the fever, and came near dying. Dr. Lazear 
allowed himself to be bitten by a mosquito, took 
the disease in its worst form, and died a martyr to 
the cause of science. 

"It seems that we must try this experiment on 
a large scale, and build special houses for the pur- 
pose," said Dr. Reed to the Commission. "I am 
beginning to think the mosquito has much to do 
with it." 

An experiment camp was therefore built, named 
"Camp Lazear" in honor of the dead doctor who 



426 AMERICA FIRST 



had sacrificed his Hfe in the cause of investigation. 
Two houses were erected. One was filled with in- 
fected clothing, soiled articles, bedding, and every- 
thing that could possibly spread the disease from 
one person to another. All . mosquitoes were care- 
fully excluded from this building. Nothing was left 
to carry the disease, but the clothing and bedding. 

The other building was clean, airy, free from 
infected articles of any kind. But inside the 
screens w^ere placed a number of mosquitoes that 
were known to be infected. Then came the call 
for volunteers. Dr. Reed addressed the soldiers: 

"Men, I shall not detail anyone to enter these 
wards. I am asking for volunteers. Dr. Lazear 
has just died from the results of an experiment. 
It may mean death to some of you, but it may 
mean the saving of hundreds of thousands of 
others." 

One by one the soldier boys volunteered, until 
Dr. Reed had enough for his purpose. He ex- 
plained to them their danger and their duties. He 
then offered to each one a sum of money. "We 
take no money for this," they replied. "It is a 
condition of our going that we receive no pay." 

"Gentlemen, I salute you in the name of hu- 
manity and your own great Government," said Dr. 
Reed. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 427 

For twenty days and nights, the men lived in 
their different quarters. In the clothes-infected 
house the men slept in the yellow fever beds, 
handled the clothing of patients, and breathed the 
air that had passed over infected articles. Not 
one of them took the fever. 

In the other house, clean, sweet, airy, but full 
of mosquitoes, ten out of thirteen came down with 
the fever, but the cases were light and not one of 
them died. 

The experiment proved conclusively that yellow 
fever was carried by the bite of a female mosquito, 
which had previously bitten a yellow fever patient. 
It was not carried by the clothing, and it did not 
infect the house. Its spread could be controlled 
by killing the mosquito, or by screening the sick- 
room. 

Dr. Reed died shortly after he had announced 
the results of his investigations. In a letter to his 
wdfe, he wrote, 

"The prayer that has been mine for twenty 
years, that I might be permitted in some way 
and at some time to do something to alleviate 
human suffering, has been granted." 



428 AlVIERICA FIRST 



THE SINKING OF THE LU SI TAN I A 

During the World War, it was the declared 
policy of Germany to torpedo any vessel flying an 
enemy flag in the waters adjacent to the British 
Isles, regardless of its character, or who was on 
board. 

One bright morning, the first day of May, 1915, 
the huge British liner, Lusitania, lay at her dock 
ready to sail from New York to Liverpool. Her 
decks were crowded with passengers. They had 
read, in the morning papers that '* vessels flying 
the flag of Great Britain, or any of her i^-llies, are 
liable to destruction — and that travelers sailing in 
the war zone on ships of Great Britain or her Allies, 
do so at their own risk." 

In spite of this warning, the ship was crowded 
with a large and happy throng, who were not 
deterred by any threat of destruction. She steamed 
down the harbor amid the waving of hands from 
the shore, and the sound of music on her deck. 
There were many confident souls on board, but 
along with them were many who were wondering 
if destruction really lay in wait for the great 
vessel. 

The voyage was full of pleasure. The decks 
were crowded with promenaders, and the smoking- 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 429 

room and cabins were centers of amusement and* 
conversation. There was little thought of danger, 
and but few discussed the possibility of the ship 
being torpedoed. It was an event that no one 
wished to consider for a moment. 

The morning of May 7 came with a heavy fog 
over the sea. The blowing of the siren awakened 
the passengers, and some of them commented on 
the fact, saying it might attract the submarines. 
Later on the fog lifted, leaving the sky without a 
cloud and the sea as smooth as glass. The shores 
of Ireland were in sight. Everybody was glad 
that the voyage was nearly over, and that, in a 
few hours, the ship and its passengers would be 
safe. 

The morning passed, and the ship steamed 
steadily on. Luncheon hour came, and the pas- 
sengers thronged below for their midday meal. 
Nearer and nearer came the friendly shores, and 
less and less grew the danger that threatened the 
vessel. The British flag was flying, as if in de- 
fiance to the threat of Germany. 

Having finished luncheon, some of the passen- 
gers came on deck, some went to their rooms to 
rest, while others turned to the smoking rooms. 
The ship settled down to the usual afternoon 
routine. 

At a few minutes after two o'clock, some of 



430 AMERICA FIRST 



the passengers saw what looked hke a whale or 
porpoise, rising about three-quarters of a mile to 
starboard. They knew that it was a submarine, 
but no one dared name it. All eyes now fastened 
in silence and dread on the menace that lay so 
quietly and sullenly in the distance. 

Then a long white line, making a train of 
bubbles across the water, started from the black 
object. It came straight for the ship. No one 
spoke until it was about sixty yards away. Then 
some one cried out, "It is a torpedo." 

There was no chance for the great ship to get 
out of the way. Its movement was too ponderous 
for the swiftly coming torpedo. It was plain that 
it could not miss its mark. It was aimed ahead 
of the vessel, and timed to strike under the bridge. 
As the missile of death came nearer, it dived, and 
the passengers held their breath. Would it hit or 
would it miss? 

Suddenly, there was a terrific explosion, and the 
fore part of the ship was torn into great holes. 
Pieces of the wreckage came through the upper 
deck, and fell among the frightened passengers. 
Germany had carried out her threat, and had 
dealt death to the great trans-Atlantic liner! 

There was no second torpedo; there was no 
need of one. The boiler exploded immediately, 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 431 

and the ship hsted heavily to starboard. The 
passengers rushed to the high side of the deck — 
the port side. There was such a hst to starboard 
that the hfe-boats on the port side swung so far 
in that they could not be launched. 

The vessel began to settle, and the life-boats on 
the starboard side were launched. The first boat 
dropped clear of the ship, and floated away with 
no one in it. One man jumped from the deck, 
swam toward the boat, and got in alone. 

Everyone was frightened, but there was no 
panic. The cry was raised, *' Women and children 
first!" These were placed in the life-boats that 
were launched. The ship settled down on the 
starboard side, and also by the head. Those who 
could not get into the life-boats trusted to the life- 
preservers, and made ready for the plunge into 
the cold water. The officers of the ship acted with 
bravery and coolness, trying to launch the life- 
boats and get the women and children into safety. 
The wireless telegraph apparatus was put out of 
commission shortly after the explosion, but not 
before a distress message, calling for help, was sent 
out and answered. 

So quickly did the ship sink that it was im- 
possible to get life-preservers from the lower deck 
cabins. Many had to leap into the sea without 



432 AMERICA FIRST 



them. The shock of the cold water was so be- 
numbing that those who jumped in were not able 
to swim, and many of them soon sank out of sight. 

With one great plunge, the stricken vessel, that 
so often had crossed the Atlantic, and that, only 
an hour before, was so full of life and power, sank 
head foremost into the sea. A great wave, rushing 
over her decks, cast the remaining passengers into 
the water. 

Then followed a scene of indescribable tragedy. 
Two boats, full of people, were overturned. An- 
other was swamped as the vessel went down, and 
still another was dragged down by catching in the 
davits. The sea was piled with wreckage to which 
people were clinging. Some were struggling to 
swim, others were depending on life-preservers, all 
were battling with the waves in mad endeavor to 
save their lives. 

Women were holding on to their husbands, while 
both went down. Children were floating helpless, 
trying to catch any object and crying piteously 
for their parents, before their little mouths were 
closed forever. 

One by one they went down beneath the cruel 
waves. Thus, eleven hundred and fifty-two were 
drowned. Of these, one hundred and fourteen 
were known to be American citizens. Of the two 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 433 

thousand and more passengers, nine hundred and 
fifty-two were saved in the hfe-boats and on the 
rafts picked up by friendly vessels that hastened 
to the scene of disaster. 

Thus did the German submarine carry out the 
threat of the German Government, and sink a 
noble ship with its precious freight of human hves. 



THE LAST RACE OF PRIVATE TREPTOW 

The American soldier felt individual responsi- 
bility in the Great War. He was ready, by him- 
self and alone, to do his part. Often he showed the 
spirit which meant, "It is for me to win this war, 
right here and now." 

"Over there," it often happened that through a 
rain of fire the soldiers had to carry messages from 
the company to the battalion. There was no way 
to get these messages through except by runners, 
and the man who undertook the mission was rac- 
ing with death as a companion. 

It was like dodging fate every second. The 
bullets flew in every direction, the air was full of 
noise of men's cries and of smoke and dust. 

These messages were usually taken by word of 
mouth, for there was no time to write; besides 



434 AMERICA FIRST 



which, writing is dangerous if it should fall into 
the hands of the enemy. 

Some of these runners got through safely, and 
delivered their message. Others never got through. 
And there were some who crawled on over the 
awful battlefield, and delivered their message with 
dying lips. But they all went! 

On the day the Americans crossed the Ourcq, a 
terrible machine-gun fire opened up, and it was 
necessary to send an important message to the 
battalion which was across the field. The noise 
was deafening, the danger great, the need impera- 
tive. The officer in charge dreaded to order any 
man to go. He knew what it meant to be sent 
into the open at that time. But it had to be done. 

"Send for Private Treptow, of Iowa," he called, 
after much hesitation. Treptow came, saluted, and 
waited attentively while the message was delivered 
to him. 

"You understand that you are to go across the 
field, connect with the battalion, and deliver this 
message as I have given it to you.^" said the 
officer. 

"I do, sir," replied the intrepid private, bowing. 

"You know the importance of the message, and 
the great risk you run, — and are not afraid.'^" 
asked the officer. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 435 



"I shall not fail, sir," was the answer. 

The private saluted, the officer returned the 
salute, and went to other duties, while Treptow 
made ready to depart. 

As he looked over the field, and measured the 
distance, it did not seem so far to that battalion. 
It was a matter of a few minutes, if there were no 
snipers or machine-guns lying in wait for him. 

"Here goes," he said to those around him. 
Putting his cap down over his eyes, and grasping 
his gun, he stepped out of cover, and faced his 
fate. There were others to follow him with the 
same message, in case he failed; for it had to be 
carried through at any cost. 

He began his race against death. On he went, 
with the bullets tearing after him. Hiding as best 
he could behind whatever cover the field afforded, 
dropping into pits when there were any, running 
boldly across the open, he moved here and there, 
now up, now down — a very fury of fire about 
him all the time. 

He ran, a prayer on his lips for his loved ones 
at home, and for the safety of the men dependent 
on his message. A bullet tore through his clothes, 
and made a jagged wound in his side. But he 
ran on. x\notlier wound, and he was faint from 
loss of blood and from the exertion of the race. 



436 AMERICA FIRST 



He was half-way over. He was running now 
with whatever spark of hfe there w^as left in him. 
Just as he was nearing his goal, a German sniper 
took careful aim, and a deadly bullet crashed 
through the body of the brave runner. Private 
Treptow fell and lay quite still. He thought for a 
moment of those across the seas, and then he did 
not think at all. He had run his last race. 

The battle raged for awhile, and then passed 
elsewhere. Over the broken, scarred field came 
the ambulances to find the wounded, and with 
them were those to bury the dead. The searchers 
came to the place where the runner lay. 

"This is Private Treptow," said one. "He was 
sent across this field yesterday with a message." 

They lifted him up, and carried him back of 
the lines. They searched his clothes before they 
buried him to see if they could find anything to 
send to his family. In a pocket, there was a diary, on 
the first page of which he had written these words : 
"America shall win the war. Therefore, I 
will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I 
will endure, I will fight cheerfully, and do 
my utmost, as though the whole issue of 
the struggle depended on me alone. My 
pledge." 
And to this he had signed his name. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 437 

When these words were read to the men of his 
company, many a one had a new vision of cour- 
age, and that night many a soldier wrote the 
same pledge on the flyleaf of his Bible. 



FRANK LUKE, JR. — AVIATOR 

The life of an aviator is full of danger and 
adventure; the annals of the World War are filled 
with -his exploits. It is the business of the air- 
craft, its pilot, and observer to note the enemies' 
positions and movements, to take photographs, to 
direct the fire of big guns, to bring down observa- 
tion balloons, to drop bombs, and to destroy or 
drive off the enemy's machines. The aviators fly 
all the w^ay from a hundred feet to three miles 
high, and often at a rate of a hundred miles an 
hour. 

Frank Luke, Jr., came from Phoenix, Arizona. 
He was twenty years old when he entered the 
service. He had his training as an aviator, and 
found himself near Chateau-Thierry, late in July, 
1918. He had an insatiable appetite for flying, 
and was deeply interested in machine-guns and 
incendiary bullets. 

About the middle of August, the enemy planes 



438 AMERICA FIRST 



were in large number over the sector where Lieu- 
tenant Luke's squadron was operating. He felt 
that if he could get across the lines unobserved, 
he could take the enemy's formation unaware, and 
swoop upon the rear man and shoot him down. 

One day, he went off alone, rose to a great 
height, and crossed into the enemy's territory. 
Far below him he spied six machines getting ready 
to land on their own aerodrome. The odds were 
against him, six to one, but he was not an aviator 
to count the odds, and prepared for action. 

He swooped down from fifteen thousand to three 
thousand feet in one long dive, speeding at a rate 
of two hundred miles an hour; he closed in on 
the rear man, and, from a distance of twenty 
yards, sent him crashing down. 

The enemy formation was taken completely by 
surprise. Before they could realize what had 
happened, or engage Luke in combat, he had 
dropped to four hundred feet, had dodged all anti- 
aircraft fire-and machine-guns, and was off like a 
rocket to his own lines. 

On September 12, 1918, began the St. Mihiel 
offensive. At daybreak, Luke rose in his plane, 
and observed a German balloon far to the right. 
He returned to his aerodrome, and learned that 
the balloon was doing great damage by directing 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 489 

an enfilading fire on our advancing troops. He 
volunteered to destroy the balloon, and flew away 
with his flying partner, Lieutenant Wehner. 

In a short while, he was seen to drop out of the 
clouds, surprise the balloon, and, at the second 
dive, he shot it down in flames. This was Luke's 
first experience with a balloon-gun — a gun de- 
signed to shoot a heavy incendiary bullet. 

Two days later, the enemy were keeping three 
observation balloons in the air. They were operat- 
ing at a low^ altitude, so low, indeed, that an 
observer could not use his parachute to escape, 
the height not being sufficient for the parachute to 
open and land the observer safely. Luke volun- 
teered to destroy these balloons, and w^as sent out 
with other pilots detailed for protection. 

A few moments before Luke was ready to shoot 
down one of the balloons, his escort became en- 
gaged in a fight with an enemy formation, and it 
seemed hopeless to make the attack. Undaunted, 
how^ever, Luke darted in underneath the fight rag- 
ing above him in the air, and, descending repeatedly 
on the balloon, sent it down in flames, despite the 
shower of machine-gun bullets that rained around 
him. 

When he reached his own lines, it was found 
that his machine was so riddled with holes that it 



440 AMERICA FIRST 



was on the verge of a collapse. Under a little 
more strain, it would probably have fallen to 
pieces in the air. "A narrow escape, that," was 
all the daring aviator said, when he looked at his 
riddled plane. 

The same afternoon, he set out to bring down 
one of the other balloons. Again, his escort was 
engaged wuth the enemy aircraft. Again, Luke 
dived under the fight to attack his prey; but he 
himself was attacked by a formation of eight 
enemy planes. Diving with great speed to the 
level of the balloon, he delivered a burst of ma- 
chine-gun bullets, saw the envelope blaze into fire, 
and then escaped his pursuers by a zig-zag course, 
back to his own aerodrome. 

Day after day, Luke went up for enemy planes, 
or in search of observation balloons. Escorting 
patrols engaged the enemy, while he darted in, and 
fired upon the balloons, bringing them down in 
flames, and escaping the terrible machine-gun fire 
from the ground. 

In seventeen days, he brought down eighteen 
enemy machines and balloons. His name became 
a terror to the Huns, and they lived in dread of 
his daring attacks upon their observation balloons. 
The observers in those balloons would frequently 
leap into their parachutes and descend before Luke 
had actually set fire to the balloons. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 441 

On September 29, he went out for the purpose 
of destroying three balloons. On his way, he flew 
over an American aerodrome and dropped a 
weighted message, asking that a sharp lookout be 
kept for three German planes which he had sighted. 
His machine was then seen to go over in that direc- 
tion, and to rise to a very high altitude. When 
nearly over the three machines, he was attacked 
by ten enemy planes. He engaged all of them, 
single-handed, and sent two crashing to the ground. 

He then dropped out of the fight, and descended 
to the level of the balloons, which he shot down, 
one after another — all three of them. This made 
five victims in one engagement. 

Now, the sad story of his death is to be related. 
His machine, surrounded by a flock of enemy 
planes, was forced to descend on to Germany ter- 
ritory. He was wounded in the shoulder, but was 
full of fight to the last. Drawing his pistol, he 
opened fire until he was killed by an overwhelm- 
ing number of the enemy. 

The Germans took his clothing, and rifled his 
pockets of their contents, and left his grave un- 
marked. Months afterwards, the inhabitants of 
the village told the Americans the story of his last 
brave fight, and showed them the grave in which 
the great American ace was buried. 



442 AMERICA FIRST 



THE EXPLOITS OF SERGEANT YORK 

Alvin York came from the mountains of Ten- 
nessee. He was the second elder in the Church of 
Christ and Christian Union. His Church is op- 
posed to any form of fighting, and, when York was 
drafted into the World War, the members wanted 
him to ask for exemption on the ground that 
fighting was against his conscience. 

But York's patriotism was as great as his re- 
ligion. He asked one of those who had been urg- 
ing him, "Suppose some man should come into 
your house, maltreat your wife, and murder your 
children, what would you do.^" 

"I think I would kill him," was the reply. 
After that they let him alone. He went to Camp 
Gordon, at Atlanta, Georgia, and began to train 
for a soldier. 

But York was still troubled about war and the 
killing of men. His religious convictions worried 
him a great deal, in spite of the fact that his 
country was at war. He often discussed the matter 
with his Captain, and they read the Bible together, 
sometimes far into the night. 

At last, after one long talk, and the reading of 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 443 

many passages of Scripture bearing on the sub- 
ject, York was convinced by Captain Danforth 
that the killing of one's enemies was in accordance 
with the teachings of the Bible. 

*'A11 right," exclaimed the big mountaineer, "I 
am satisfied." From that time, especially after his 
company went to France, he threw himself with all 
his heart into the war. 

Up in his mountain home, York had learned to 
be very expert with rifle and pistol. His aim was 
certain, his fire was rapid, and, when he pulled 
the trigger, it meant sure death. He had won 
many prizes shooting at turkeys and targets. 
Once, he stopped a fight, showing his skill to a 
man who was quarreling with him, by deliberately 
shooting the head off a lizard running on a tree. 
In a contest with an ofiicer, York, who had become 
a Sergeant, hit a penny match-box at forty paces 
every time. 

He had worked on a farm, and as a blacksmith, 
and had developed a powerful body. He was six 
feet high, weighed over two hundred pounds, and 
had a lot of red hair. 

On October 8, 1918, the chance came for Ser- 
geant York to show the material of which he was 
made. His battalion was in the Argonne section, 
in France. The men left their position on Hill 223, 



444 AMERICA FIRST 



in order to attack the Decauville railroad, nearly 
two miles to the westward. The battalion had to 
pass through a valley, on both sides of which were 
hills from which the German machine-guns poured 
a deadly fire into their ranks. In front was an- 
other hill filled with machine-guns. Thus the bat- 
talion was caught in a fire from three directions. 

York's platoon was on the extreme left. The 
line seemed to melt away before the enemy's 
bullets. The squad to which York belonged was 
ordered to put the machine-guns out of action. 

The men leaped to their task, and advanced 
toward the hill. There were sixteen in all. Ser- 
geant York and the others rushed up the steep 
slope, under cover of bushes, slipping behind trees 
and hiding in the ditches. The enemy's fire was 
fierce and dangerous. Fortunately, the men es- 
caped observation, and pursued their way back of 
the lines. 

They came upon an old trench, formerly used 
by the French, and into it they dropped for pro- 
tection. It led over the hill, and behind the nest 
of machine-guns. Single file, and cautiously, they 
crept along, now in the trench and now under the 
bushes, keeping a sharp lookout for Germans. At 
last, they came to a little stream on the other side 
of the hill, and ran into a party of twenty or thirty 



STORIES OF OUR OWN HISTORY 445 

Germans, holding a conference and getting ready 
to eat. 

The Americans yelled, and opened fire, as if a 
whole regiment had arrived. The astonished Ger- 
mans, not expecting an attack, and being unpre- 
pared, held up their hands, shouting "Kamerad," 
in token of their surrender. 

*'Who are you.^ Are you English troops?" 
shouted the German Major. 

"No. We are a force of Americans," was the 
reply, which seemed to bring no great surprise to 
the Major. 

Before arrangements could be made to secure 
their prisoners, the machine-guns opened fire, not 
thirty yards awaj^ The Americans had been dis- 
covered. The valley became a bedlam of shrieking 
sounds, as the rain of bullets whistled by. The 
German prisoners dropped to the ground, and 
hugged the earth for protection from the fire of 
their own guns. The Americans followed their ex- 
ample, but not before a number of their party 
were killed. 

By this time, the sixteen men had been reduced 
to eight — Sergeant York and seven others. It 
took the whole seven to guard the prisoners who 
were lying down, and afraid to move for fear of 
the awful machine-gun fire passing overhead. York 



446 AMERICA FIRST 



alone remained to fight the enemy. He was lying 
in a narrow path, leading toward the guns, the 
prisoners directly before him, the gun-fire barely 
missing him where he lay. The enemy could not 
lower their fire without killing their own men. 
But York was as cool as though he was at a 
shooting-match in the mountains. He began pot- 
ting the Bodies in their fox-holes, from behind the 
trees, and under shelter of the logs. With every 
shot, he brought down an enemy. His fire was 
deadly. 

"If I had moved, I would have been killed. 
The prisoners saved me, for the Boches had to 
fire high to keep from hitting their own men," 
said York afterwards. 

Finally, a Lieutenant and seven men rose from 
a machine-gun, and charged down the hill toward 
the place where York lay. He shot all eight of 
them before they ran half-way. As soon as the 
Germans saw the Lieutenant and his men drop, 
the battle quieted down, for they were amazed at 
the way their men were being killed, and did not 
know what force was attacking them. They had 
no idea York was doing it all. 

The Major of the prisoners called out, "Don't 
shoot any more, and I'll make them surrender." 
With that, York lowered his pistol, and the Major 
raised his hands. 



STORIES OF OUR OWN fflSTORY 447 



The Boches came down the hill in droves. Their 
arrival made a list of ninety prisoners. York and 
the others placed them in columns, and marched 
off toward the American Hnes. 

*'How many men have you in your command?" 
asked the Major. "I have plenty to hold you 
prisoners," answered York. "Drop your guns and 
equipment and move on." The Germans obeyed 

promptly. 

On the w^ay back, they ran into other machine- 
gun nests. Using their prisoners as screens, the 
Americans made the Major demand the surrender 
of them as fast as they were discovered, under 
penalty of having his men shot by their own 
machine-guns. It soon became a procession. 

In this way, York and his few companions added 
to their Hst as they went along, until, when they 
arrived at their destination, and turned over their 
prisoners, they had one hundred and thirty-two! 
The Major was the gloomiest man in Europe when 
he found out that he had surrendered to a handful 
of Americans. York himself had killed twenty 
men with his own pistol, and thirty-five machine- 
guns had been put out of action! 



3i^.77-l